What is an occupational health and safety (OH&S) program?

A health and safety program is a plan of action designed to prevent accidents and occupational diseases. Some form of a program is required under occupational health and safety legislation in most Canadian jurisdictions. A health and safety program must include the elements required by the health and safety legislation as a minimum.

Due diligence can be defined as “the care that a reasonable person exercises to avoid harm to other persons or their property.” To maintain a safe work environment, legislation must be followed and trained for accordingly for the safety of all those within the workplace.

What are elements of a safety program?

While organizations will have different needs and scope for specific elements required in their health and safety program, the following basic items should be considered in each case:

  • Individual responsibility
  • Joint occupational health and safety committee
  • Health and safety rules
  • Correct work procedures
  • Employee orientation
  • Training
  • Workplace inspections
  • Reporting and investigating accidents/incidents
  • Emergency procedures
  • Medical and first aid
  • Health and safety promotion
  • Workplace specific items
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