Have you pre-ordered your 2021 Occupational Health and Safety Acts yet? They are mandatory
in the workplace, and BEST Safety Training is taking pre-orders now.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act: It’s Mandatory!
Posting a copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the Act) in the workplace is
mandatory under the Act. Section 25(2)(i) of the Act clearly states “An employer shall post, in
the workplace, a copy of this Act and any explanatory material prepared by the Ministry…”
While there’s no requirement that the posted Act has to be current, it is considered best
practice and industry standard to update it every year. The Ministry of Labour, Training, and
Skills Development (MLTSD) makes posting all current legislation mandatory. If you choose to
continue to display an older version of the Act, you must ensure that you’ve printed and
displayed all legislation that’s been added, changed, or updated since. An MLTSD inspector could issue a ticket if any information is missing.
Because the legislation is always changing and adapting to better protect workers, buying and
displaying a current copy of the Act each year is a small price to pay for compliance. It also
sends an important message to the workforce, that your organization values safety.
Reading and Understanding the Act
Reading and understanding the Act can be daunting. But, with practice, anyone can learn to
read and use the Act effectively. Knowing how to use, read, and interpret the Act will be a huge
benefit to your organization. After all, the Act is the foundation on which your health and safety
program is built! To make reading and understanding the Act easier, consider these tips:
1. Get a Current Copy
The Act changes from year to year. Updates are intended to make the Act stronger and expand
the scope of protection it offers to workers. BEST Safety Training is taking pre-orders now for
the latest 2021 Act.
2. Use the Index
Make navigating the Act fast and easy by using the index! You can quickly access legislation and
regulations by looking up keywords in the back of the Act.
3. Understand the Verbiage
The Act is full of verbiage that can make it confusing. Some of that language includes:
• Shall: When the Act uses “shall” that means mandatory
• And: When you see “and” that means that all elements of the clause must be present
• May: May means that an element may or may not be present
• Or: When you see “or,” that means that one or another element is required or present
• Prescribed: “Prescribed” indicates that you must look elsewhere. For example,
“Prescribed under a specific regulation” indicates that there is more information
contained in the regulation. Other prescribed sources of information may include SDSs,
Operators’ Manuals, policies and procedures, etc.
4. Don’t Neglect the Regulations
There’s so much attention paid to the Act and its contents – but don’t neglect the regulations!
They’re industry-specific and chock-full of additional information and requirements.
5. Don’t Forget the JHSC!
Getting one Act for the health and safety board is a start, but your organization should have
more than one copy. Consider providing a copy for each member of the JHSC, your safety
management team, and all supervisors, team leads, and workplace trainers to keep them all upto-speed on changing legislation. As well, if your organization has more than one location, you will require a copy at each location.