Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act as of June 30, 2006, will apply, certain limitations and exceptions, to all farming operations that have paid employees. The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires employers that regularly employ more then five employees to prepare and review at least annually a written OHS policy, and to develop and maintain a program to implement that policy. This document has been prepared to assist employers in understanding these obligations.
Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Policies
An occupational health and safety policy is a statement of an employer's commitment to a worker’s health and safety. A clear, concise occupational health and safety policy, signed by the highest level of management in the company, should state the employer's commitment, support and attitude to the health and safety program for the protection of their workers.
The employer's attitudes, relationships between management and workers, community interests and technology all combine to play an important part in determining how health and safety is viewed and addressed in the workplace.
Companies maintaining exceptional health and safety records have established a clear line of responsibility for correcting health and safety concerns. This action enhances working relationships between management and employees.
Here is an example of a good health & safety policy.
[Employer’s name/Farm operation ] is vitally interested in the health and safety of its employees. The protection of employees from injury or occupational disease is a major continuing objective. (“Company”) will make every possible effort to provide a safe and healthy workplace environment. All the company’s supervisors and workers must be dedicated to the continuing the objective of reducing the risk of injury.
[_____ ], as employer, is ultimately responsible for the worker’s health and safety. As the employer of [______ ], I hereby give you my personal promise that every reasonable precaution will be taken to ensure the safety of the workers. The supervisors will be held accountable for the health and safety of the workers under their supervision. The supervisors will also be responsible to make sure that all machinery and equipment are safe and that the workers work in compliance with the company’s established safe work practices and procedures. Employees must receive adequate training in their specific work tasks to protect their health and safety.
Every worker must protect his or her own health and safety by working in compliance with the law and with safe work practices and procedures established by the company (or farm operation).
It is in the best interest of all parties to consider health and safety in every activity. Commitment to health and safety must form an integral part of this organization, from the owner to the workers.
Signed: [______________ ]Employer (Farm operation)
Health and Safety Program
In addition to preparing a health and safety policy like the one above, the employer who regularly employs more than five employees must also have a program in place to implement that policy. This program will vary, depending upon the hazards encountered in a particular workplace. Program elements may include all or some of the following:
· Confined space entry procedure
· Lockout Tagout procedure
· Machine guarding
· Worker training e.g.., new employees, new equipment, new job procedures
· Analysis of the accidents and illnesses occurring at the workplace
· A health and safety budget
· A formal means of communication to address promptly the concerns of workers
· Material-handling practices and procedures
· Procedures specific to the individual farming operation, e.g., harvesting fruit, large animal handling
· Preventing occupational disease, e.g., preventing the transmission of diseases from animals to humans
· Maintenance and repairs
· Personal protective equipment, e.g.., respirators, hearing protection
· Emergency procedures
· First-aid and rescue procedures
· Electrical safety
· Fire prevention
· Engineering controls e.g., ventilation
Not a comprehensive list.