On April 26, 2017, the Government of Nova Scotia announced that amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which were passed in May of 2016, will officially come into force as of June 12, 2017.
Overview of the Amendments
These amendments have 2 key components that employers will need to be aware of:
1) Incident reporting - the amendments better define when, how, and what incidents must be reported. The highlights are as follows:
The Director must be notified as soon as possible (but no later than 24 hours) after a workplace fire, flood or accident that causes:
" unconsciousness, " a fracture of the skull, spine, pelvis, arm, leg, ankle, wrist or a major part of the hand or foot, " loss or amputation of a leg, arm, hand, foot, finger or toe, " a third degree burn to any part of the body, " loss of sight in one or both eyes, " asphyxiation or poisoning, " any injury that requires the admission to hospital, or " any injury that endangers the life,
of an employee, unless the injury can be treated by immediate first aid or medical treatment and the person can return to work the following day.
Whether injury occurs or not, the Director must be notified as soon as possible (but no later than 24 hours) after:
" an accidental explosion, " a major structural failure or collapse of a building or other structure, " a major release of a hazardous substance, or " a fall from a work area in circumstances where fall protection is required by the regulations,
2) Repeat offenders - the amendments give the Director additional authority over those who put people at risk of serious injury or death by repeatedly contravening safety requirements or failing to comply with Orders from the Division.
The new powers set out below can only be exercised where the following conditions exist:
" A person has "repeatedly" (more than once in the last 3 years) contravened the Act or Regulations or failed to comply with an order made pursuant thereto; " the contravention or failure posed a risk of serious injury ("injury that endangers life or causes permanent injury")
Orders for Information
Where the Director has reasonable grounds for believing that a repeat offender may contravene the Act or regulations or fail to comply with an order thereunder in a similar manner in future, the Director may order that person to provide details regarding the nature and location of future work activities....