Roles & Responsibilities

Roles & ResponsibilitiesWhat are roles and responsibilities?

Under the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) workers and employers share responsibility for occupational health and safety. This concept of an internal responsibility system is based on the principle that workplace parties are in the best position to identify health and safety problems and to develop solutions.

What the law says

Employers have the most responsibility for ensuring a safe and healthy workplace and must

  • keep a safe and well-maintained workplace
  • provide hazard information, proper safety equipment, training and competent supervision
  • have worker representation for health and safety
  • follow proper procedures in case of injury

Supervisors have responsibility to provide

  • a safe workplace and assign safe work
  • training and information
  • supervision

Workers have the right to

  • know about any unsafe conditions or hazardous materials used in the workplace
  • participate in making their workplace safe
  • refuse unsafe work

Workers also have responsibility to

  • work safely and not take risks
  • report unsafe conditions
  • wear the right safety equipment for the job
  • ask their employers about concerns regarding health and safety

Joint health and safety committee members and health and safety representatives also have roles to play in the workplace.

How a properly functioning internal responsibility system can help your business

Ideally, the internal responsibility system involves everyone in health and safety, from the company chief executive officer to the worker. How well the system works depends upon whether there is a complete, unbroken chain of responsibility and accountability for health and safety. Safe work contributes to efficiency, profitability and lower WSIB premiums.

What you can do

Employers can take action in support of roles and responsibilities in many ways

  • Make sure that health and safety responsibilities are built into each person's job description
  • Make sure that workers have proper safety equipment and are trained to use it safely
  • Make sure supervisors and workers are aware of any known hazards in the work and that supervisors are competent (e.g. that they understand the Occupational Health and Safety Act and are prepared to ensure the work is carried out safely).
  • Take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect workers.
  • In a workplace with more than five workers, have a written health and safety policy and program and post the policy where everyone can read it.
  • Establish a fully-functioning joint health and safety committee (or health and safety representative where required)
  • Post the names and work locations of health and safety committee members or the worker representative where it can be seen.

Downloads

Duties & Responsibilities

Duties & Responsibilities

An overview of the duties and responsibilities of employers, supervisors and workers.
109 KB PDF
IRS Primer

IRS Primer

The internal responsibility system (IRS) is part of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Everyone in the workplace has a shared responsibility. This primer will help you understand your role in this process.
682 KB pdf
Physical Demands Analysis (Fillable Form)

Physical Demands Analysis (Fillable Form)

A physical demands analysis (PDA) is a systematic procedure to quantify and evaluate the physical, cognitive, and environmental demands of the essential and non-essential tasks of a job.

See "Physical Demands Analysis Instruction" for assistance to complete this form.

731 KB pdf
Physical Demands Analysis (Instruction)

Physical Demands Analysis (Instruction)

This is an instruction to help you with completing the "Physical Demands Analysis (Fillable Form)".

733 KB pdf
Work Refusal Chart

Work Refusal Chart

Information to help employers navigate work refusals made by their workers. Employers are encouraged to use, reproduce, or customize this document / template to meet their health and safety requirements.
17 KB PDF

Consulting Services

Consulting Services Awareness Sessions

Consulting Services Awareness Sessions

Awareness sessions are presentations of up to 2 hours in length delivered at your workplace by WSPS consultants. They are designed to help meet your legal duty to provide information about workplace hazards to employees.


General Consulting Services

General Consulting Services

Integrating health and safety into your workplace is good business.  WSPS’ consultants employ a results-based approach to health, safety and environment, focused on building self-reliance,  and enabling your organization to implement, manage and continually improve your health and safety programs.

WSPS Safety Group

WSPS Safety Group

WSPS is the largest Safety Group provider and one of the longest running sponsors in the province. With our extensive experience and proven track record, by working with us and other member firms participating firms can achieve better results, and qualify for WSIB rebates.

Training

CLC Part II: For Managers (Federal) - English (1/2 day)

CLC Part II: For Managers (Federal) - English (1/2 day)

NEW! Provide managers and supervisors with the knowledge of their health and safety responsibilities as outlined in the Canada Labour Code Part II.

View Details 
$209.00

CLC Part II: For Managers (Federal) - French (1/2 day)

CLC Part II: For Managers (Federal) - French (1/2 day)

NEW! Provide managers and supervisors with the knowledge of their health and safety responsibilities as outlined in the Canada Labour Code Part II.

View Details 
$209.00

Supervisor Responsibilities and Due Diligence (1/2 day)

Supervisor Responsibilities and Due Diligence (1/2 day)

Understand your legal responsibilities, your role as a leader and the key concept of due diligence.
View Details 
$149.00

The Effective Investigator: A Practical Case Study (1/2 day)

The Effective Investigator: A Practical Case Study (1/2 day)

NEW! Hone your skills through participation in a mock accident investigation.
View Details 
$180.00

The Effective Trainer (2 days)

The Effective Trainer (2 days)

NEW! Build internal capacity for impactful training delivery
View Details 
$519.00

E-Courses

Health and Safety for Senior Executives: Legislation and Liability (English) (1 hour)

Health and Safety for Senior Executives: Legislation and Liability (English) (1 hour)

Reduce liabilities and increase organizational compliance through high performance health and safety leadership.
View Details 
$64.00

Health and Safety for Senior Executives: Legislation and Liability (French) (1 hour)

Health and Safety for Senior Executives: Legislation and Liability (French) (1 hour)

Reduce liabilities and increase organizational compliance through high performance health and safety leadership.
View Details 
$64.00

Reference Products

Landscape Ontario Workplace Safety Tailgate Talks for the Landscaping Industry

Landscape Ontario Workplace Safety Tailgate Talks for the Landscaping Industry

This tool provides information on dozens of the most common hazards in the landscaping industry along with best practices for working safely.
View Details 
$20.00

Articles

Incident investigation: the ultimate due diligence

Incident investigation: the ultimate due diligence

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Oct 12, 2017
New tool helps employees move more

New tool helps employees move more

It's Global Ergonomics Month, the perfect time to take action against sedentary lifestyles that could be making your employees sick and costing you money. And WSPS can help you do it.
Oct 12, 2017
Supervisors pivotal to business success

Supervisors pivotal to business success

Did you know that business success can often be predicted? The first indicator is employee engagement. To perform, people in your organization need to be engaged, focused, at their post, able to handle complexities, plan, make decisions, build relationships - and for that they need to be safe and healthy, both physically and mentally.
Sep 15, 2017
5 safety best practices for small firms

5 safety best practices for small firms

Kirsi Henry knows that time is a precious resource for a small business owner, so as a WSPS consultant she cuts to the chase: "Pay particular attention to your new and young workers. It's vital for them and for you: these workers have a higher risk of injury and are most likely to be injured within the first month on the job."
Sep 13, 2017
Preventing work refusals: start with a positive safety culture

Preventing work refusals: start with a positive safety culture

Workers have three guaranteed rights under Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act, including the right to refuse to perform work believed to be unsafe. But this right is often enacted as a last resort, when other means to resolve a health and safety concern have failed, says WSPS ergonomist Tanya Muller.
Jul 12, 2017
New and young worker blitz: insights and advice from an inspection veteran

New and young worker blitz: insights and advice from an inspection veteran

The Ministry of Labour's Joe O'Grady has critical advice for employers of new and young workers: "supervise, supervise, supervise!" Follow this advice and you can prevent injuries and save lives, says O’'Grady; these new and young workers are three times more likely to be injured during the first month on the job than at any other time.
Jul 12, 2017
Is it a work refusal or labour relations complaint? Understand the difference

Is it a work refusal or labour relations complaint? Understand the difference

Workers' right to refuse work they believe to be unsafe to themselves or other workers is a mainstay of Ontario's Internal Responsibility System. At their best, refusals can draw attention to hazards not previously recognized, providing additional protection for workers.
Jun 13, 2017
4 low- or no-cost ways to make mental health a workplace priority

4 low- or no-cost ways to make mental health a workplace priority

The mental health of workers cannot be ignored. In any given week 500,000 people miss work every week due to a mental health issue.

Apr 10, 2017
Help injured workers avoid depression with these 8 suggestions

Help injured workers avoid depression with these 8 suggestions

New research suggests that the first six months after a workplace injury may be critical to an injured worker's ongoing mental health.

Feb 13, 2017
Yes, corporations do have a right to a timely trial

Yes, corporations do have a right to a timely trial

Last summer the Supreme Court of Canada's groundbreaking decision R v Jordan set a limit on the time it takes to process a criminal prosecution to trial. If the actual time exceeds the limit, then the right of the accused to be tried within a reasonable time is considered to have been breached, unless certain circumstances apply. A breach invariably results in a stay of proceedings, which has the effect of dismissing the charges and preventing the Crown from laying them again.

Feb 13, 2017

"The Effective Investigator" - Hands-on accident training to help keep your company safe

"Many workplace accident investigations miss critical information, says Alain Langlais, WSPS Director, Eastern Region. Even experienced investigators can be fazed by the chaos and pressure of an accident scene. "It's easy to flounder and lose track of priorities. But if you don't get it right, you lose evidence and you may never find out what happened."

Jan 17, 2017
7 best practices to create a safe and healthy workplace while increasing your bottom line

7 best practices to create a safe and healthy workplace while increasing your bottom line

"Canada's workers are both overwhelmed and overworked," says mental health expert Dr. Ian Dawe. The resulting stress translates into $6 billion dollars a year in lost productivity and lost time, but Dawe says there is an alternative. "Understanding the human cost of workplace mental health helps employers develop action plans that will improve the bottom line as well as employee well-being."

Jan 13, 2017
8 steps to help you implement new workplace harassment requirements

8 steps to help you implement new workplace harassment requirements

Workplace harassment can have debilitating consequences for victims, their co-workers, and the business. "If there's even an inkling of this behaviour in the workplace, the situation needs to be addressed immediately," says WSPS consultant Charmaine Mitchell. "If workers don't feel safe, it can have widespread repercussions on employee well-being and organizational productivity."

Sep 08, 2016
12 ways to engage workers in slip, trip and fall prevention

12 ways to engage workers in slip, trip and fall prevention

A recent prosecution resulting from the death of a worker who tripped on an empty pallet is a shocking reminder of how easily things can go wrong. We asked WSPS's Jennifer MacFarlane how warehouses, distributions centres and other workplaces could avoid similar incidents. Her immediate response: involve everyone.

Jul 05, 2016
Test how well you support your supervisors with these 10 questions

Test how well you support your supervisors with these 10 questions

"A good supervisor wears many hats," says WSPS territory manager Sandy Ash. "Coach, mentor, employee and employer advocate, production coordinator, HR liaison, health and safety specialist... It's a big job requiring this 'superhuman' to be all these things at the same time."

Jul 05, 2016
Cascading safety failures: 7 lessons to help prevent injuries or fatalities

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At some point, every workplace will have contractors performing work on site. Mostly they work safely and productively. But a recent incident in which a contractor's employee fell to his death and a co-worker sustained injuries shows how a cascading series of failures can have devastating effects. WSPS consultant Lois Weeks offers seven takeaways from this tragic and preventable incident. But first, here's what happened.

Sep 04, 2015
Improve supervisor performance by eliminating these 5 barriers

Improve supervisor performance by eliminating these 5 barriers

WSPS consultant Gord Leffley identifies five barriers to effective supervision and how to eliminate them so that you can better protect workers and improve your business. "In a well supervised workplace," says Leffley, "you get the performance you want, but you also get better and continually improving performance. Suggestions for making improvements move quickly up the organization, and the responses also move down quickly, engaging workers and encouraging innovation."

 

May 13, 2015
New guideline to help pallet users improve safety

New guideline to help pallet users improve safety "exponentially"

A new safety guideline now in development will help wood pallet users improve safety performance "exponentially," says a member of the WSPS-facilitated industry group responsible for the guideline.

Feb 10, 2015
New law makes employers responsible for temp and unpaid worker safety

New law makes employers responsible for temp and unpaid worker safety

If you hire temporary or unpaid workers, Ontario's just-proclaimed Bill 18, Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, has expanded your health and safety responsibilities. Some are already in effect. Here’s what you need to know.

Jan 12, 2015
Out of sight but not out of mind: 2 lawyers' perspective on employer obligations for travelling workers

Out of sight but not out of mind: 2 lawyers' perspective on employer obligations for travelling workers

Many workers are required to travel as part of their job duties. They may travel for sales trips, service calls, conferences, client meetings, or even accompanying students on a field trip. Unfortunately, workers are sometimes injured while travelling.

Aug 11, 2014
Unleash the potential of your employees to prevent risky behaviour

Unleash the potential of your employees to prevent risky behaviour

Your safe employees may be your best ally in preventing risky behaviour among co-workers who are impervious to traditional injury prevention approaches, suggests research conducted by the Center for Health and Safety Culture at Montana State University's Western Transportation Institute.

Aug 11, 2014
Keeping young and new restaurant workers safe

Keeping young and new restaurant workers safe

Restaurants aim to provide service that looks effortlessly efficient, but work at the front and back of house is intense, repetitive and full of hazards. That's why the Ministry of Labour's annual young and new worker blitz -taking place now - always focuses on restaurants and food services.

Jul 04, 2014
Slates for Sarah: camera assistant's death catalyzes health and safety in the performance industry

Slates for Sarah: camera assistant's death catalyzes health and safety in the performance industry

Sarah Jones had all the traits and more to be a successful camera assistant: organizational skills, communication skills, attention to detail, agility, and speed. Nevertheless, none could help the 27-year-old escape the path of an oncoming train.

Apr 03, 2014