Nova Scotia to clarify rules governing safety infractions in workplaces

Fines range from $500 for employees to $2000 for employers

HALIFAX (CP) — The Nova Scotia government has introduced legislation that it says would clarify when fines and other penalties are imposed for workplace violations that include lack of signs and safety equipment.

Labour Minister Kelly Regan says the amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act are a first step to new regulations that will help her department focus on more serious infractions, repeat offenders and workplace safety education.

Regan says the regulations expected next year will include details on when administrative fines should be levied.

A provincial review of administrative penalties aired complaints from employers who said fines were issued inconsistently and sometimes unfairly.

That was an issue highlighted in a report released last month by the province's auditor general, who also called for a greater emphasis on prevention measures in the workplace.

Maximum fines for workplace violations range from $500 for an employee to $2,000 for an employer, though those fines could double if the offence occurs again within a three-year period.

Regan says money from the fines, which go to general revenues, would be redirected in the future to education and other initiatives intended to help increase safety in workplaces.

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