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Weighing the merits of a sound accident/incident prevention program

The Nova Scotia government website publishes information on employer convictions under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations. For 2012-2013, there are 9 convictions listed to date. They include fines ranging from $1,500.00 to $77,600 plus a $5,000 alternative fine:

Case Fines
1. Awaiting   sentencing
2. Awaiting   sentencing
3. $77,500   + $5,000 alternative fine
4. $2,000   + $300 victim surcharge
5. $11,000   + $1,650 victim surcharge
6. $50,000
7. $5,000   + $750 victim surcharge
8. Awaiting   sentencing
9. $1,500


The fines were based on Sections 4, 13, 15, and 17 of the occupational Health and Safety Act and under Sections 7 and 9 of the Regulations. These fines come on top of Workers’ Compensation rates that now reflect on an employer’s experience, whether good or bad.

In light of high workplace injury rates, employers need to weigh human costs and mounting penalties against the costs of sound accident and incident prevention programs. According to the Workers’ Compensation Board in Nova Scotia, employers and workers can do something about workplace injury. Under the Internal Responsibility System, everyone has a role to play in creating safe workplaces, including:

Employers can among other things,

  • Have tools and equipment to facilitate safe work – such as dollies, lifts, and other equipment to reduce unsafe work that often leads to strains and sprains
  • Ensure a safety policy and program are in place
  • Make safety a priority across the workplace
  • Ensure a Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee or Safety Representative is in place
  • Ensure proper supervision of the work and workplace

Workers can among other things,

  • Refuse work that is unsafe
  • Report work that’s starting to hurt, such as repetitive strain
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment
  • Work with your employer to design work safely

According to the WCB, preventing workplace injuries is about more than just writing a safety policy, forming a JOHS committee or providing first aid training. It’s also about making a commitment to your employees, those you serve, suppliers and community to continuously maintain a healthy and safe workplace.

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Amery Boyer
The Human Element, just a different way to manage

Amery Boyer

Amery Boyer, CHRP, MBA is a Human Resources professional with extensive experience in human resources, staffing and employee relations for both the private and public sectors and various levels of governments. She was a contributing editor of The Human Resources Advisor, Atlantic edition published by First Reference. Read more

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