Nova Scotia introduces new workplace safety rules

Fall protection training, hazard assessments now mandatory in some workplaces

Beginning June 12, Nova Scotia employers need to be aware of new workplace safety rules.

Companies on a worksite with a risk of falling from a height of more than three metres must now show proof of adequate fall-protection training. Employers conducting work on roads, public parking lots and highways must have a hazard assessment and written safe-work procedure.

The new laws will strengthen regulations, increase accountability through better public reporting, make consequences for law-breakers harsher and target more surprise inspections, according to Labour and Advanced Education Minister Frank Corbett.

Nova Scotia is also making information on workplace convictions — such as the guilty parties, the offence and punishment — easier to find, on the department's website. It will be updated quarterly to increase accountability and act as a deterrent.

The province is also working with the Public Prosecution Service to pursue harsher penalties for employers with serious and repeat offences. This includes establishing a prosecutor responsible only for occupational health and safety.

Corbett has directed occupational health and safety officers to increase job-site visits in 2013, including more surprise inspections for employers with repeat violations. In 2012-13, the province conducted 2,481 job-site inspections.

The province has also introduced a public education campaign. Anyone who sees unsafe activity at a workplace is being asked to call 1-800-9-LABOUR, or to email [email protected].

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