Poster image courtesy of the WSIB
Employers often have questions about their legal requirement to post certain health and safety documents in the workplace. For instance, does the material have to be translated into other languages, how often does it need to be updated, and how can they ensure workers actually use the information?
The bigger question may be, ‘why does the law require me to do this?’ WSPS Consultant Sara Lambie assures employers that posting requirements are “not a paper-gathering exercise.” The information you display plays a vital role in the health and safety of your workplace. It:
supports a worker’s right to know about the hazards in the workplace
helps clarify worker’s duties and roles under the internal responsibility system (IRS)
provides internal and external resources for workers with health and safety concerns
helps establish your company’s commitment to health and safey
Sara helps answer your top 6 questions about posting requirements below.
Your 6 questions about posting health and safety in the workplace answered
1. What health and safety documents am I required to post? And in what languages? Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act (WSIA), workplaces in Ontario must post a variety of external and internal documents.
“Health and Safety at Work – Prevention Starts Here” MLITSD poster. Outlines the rights and responsibilities of workers, supervisors and employers. Must be displayed in English and the majority language of the workplace. Available in 21 languages.
“In Case of Injury at Work” poster. Outlines the steps workers and employers need to take if there is an injury at work. Available in multiple languages.
workplace health and safety policy
workplace violence and harassment policy
names and work locations of joint health and safety (JHSC) members
orders from an MLITSD inspector (if applicable)
results of monitoring of airborne concentrations of a designated substance and worker exposure to airborne concentrations of a designated substance
“It’s considered a best practice to translate the internal documents you are posting into the primary languages of the workplace,” says Sara. “Some workplaces ask existing employees who speak various languages to help with translation.”
2. Where do I post these documents? The law requires employers to post the OHSA and Ministry poster in a “conspicuous” place, to which employees have easy access, says Sara. “Often, employers post the external and internal documents on a large health and safety notice board in a centralized location near the lunch room, punch clock or other well-frequented location.” Under the WSIA, employers must post the ‘In Case of Injury poster,’ along with copies of valid first aid certificates and inspection cards, at the workplace’s first aid station.
3. What if my workplace is virtual/hybrid? Or has multiple sites? “Companies with multiple sites often create a health and safety board at each location,” says Sara. In remote or virtual workplaces, virtual boards are popular. “Just make sure the board isn’t buried somewhere on the intranet, making it hard to find.” Many hybrid workplaces have both a physical and virtual board.
4. Does the material on your health and safety board need to be updated? “While the law doesn’t specify how often to review and update your health and safety board,” says Sara, “it’s expected to have current information.” Since employers are required to review both their health and safety policy and their violence and harassment policy at least annually, these policies should be dated within the last year.
5. How do you let employees/new hires know about this resource? Be sure to include the health and safety board (and first aid station) in your orientation, says Sara. “Make sure workers know they can go to the supervisor if they have any health and safety questions or concerns.”
6. How can workplaces help ensure their employees will actually look at and use the board? Sara has these tips:
reduce clutter – “you don’t want a safety board three layers thick”
organize the board
design safety talks or workplace activities around the board. For example, a safety board scavenger hunt.
How WSPS can help