Promoting Safety Work Practices through Workplace Inspection and Workplace Safety Regulations
We know that leadership in safety is key to make a positive impact in building a work safe culture throughout every workplace and on a large scale, advancing the provincial workplace safety strategy. The success of this strategy will depend on all of us working together on many important initiatives to make a foster a culture of safety - it is our call to action!
One key initiative underway to promote better safer workplaces is through 'Workplace Inspection and Enforcement' of safety laws and regulations. Over the past number of months the Department of Labor and Advanced Education (DLAE) has been consulting with the public and stakeholders on the draft changes to the Workplace Health and Safety Regulations. Through these consultations, they have received valuable feedback on how these regulations and future changes are made and rolled out and found that stakeholders would like to participate more fully by being more involved in the drafting and implementation of safety regulations. Based on the valuable feedback, the Department has made the decision to take a 'pause' and rethink the process. A new engagement process will be determined offering workers, employers, labor unions and other valued safety partners to provide their input that will guide the design and implementation of a progressive, easy to understand regulatory framework. This is a positive step in their process, but we must remember that we have current regulations in place that guide our safety programs and actions to maintain a safe work environment.
Yours in Safety!
Workplace Inspections and JOSH Committee Training
Two key elements of workplace safety programs are Workplace Inspections and Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee training.
Workplace inspection is a key component of a safety program and an effective process that will lead to safe work environments. It is an opportunity to identify areas of concern and take corrective action, but as important, it is an opportunity to have meaningful conversations with staff, have teachable moments and recognize the good the things that are happening. Talking about safety and caring about safety: 'Talk as you walk and Walk the talk'!
Why are workplace inspections important?
Workplace inspections help prevent injuries and illnesses. Through critical examination of the workplace, inspections identify and record hazards for corrective action. The JOHS committee can help plan, conduct, report and monitor inspections; it is a great opportunity to involve staff. It's a learning opportunity to gain further understanding of jobs and tasks and creates opportunities to listen to front line staff and management concerns. Areas of concern and hazards will be identified, monitored and corrective action determined.
Remember to take in all workplace elements - the environment, the equipment and the process. The environment includes such hazards as noise, vibration, lighting, temperature, and ventilation. Equipment includes materials, and tools. The process involves how the staff member interacts with the other elements in a series of tasks or operations.
An inspection checklist is a tool to help identify inspection responsibilities, and serves as a report of inspection activities. Checklists permit easy on-the-spot recording of findings and comments. The following are two customized checklist for Home care/Home Support and Facility based care that can used as a template to develop a checklist for your workplace.
The importance of JOSH Committee Training
We know that JOSH committee training is fundamental for compliance with the current provincial OHS Regulations and it helps support the development of an effective safety program. During the month of February, Heather has been on the road, around the province conducting education sessions for JOSH Committee members. This valuable education session helps you to be more informed of your important role and responsibility and to learn more about key elements of an effective OHS program.
Despite the stormy weather, Heather held 9 sessions around the province with over 400 participants. Thank you for your commitment and participation!
JOHS Committee Training will continue, so keep an eye on Heather's calendar!
Workplace Inspection Checklists
Aware-NS, along with COSP working groups, have designed two separate workplace inspection checklists. One checklist is designed for workers in a community based setting, the other is facility based.
You may use these templates for your own organization's purposes.
Please keep in mind that these templates are generic. You may need to add or subtract from these lists depending on your organization's own personal needs.