Sections 25, 26, 27, and 28 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) outline the legal responsibilities of workplace parties to protect all workers and employers in Ontario. Everyone must work together to control hazards, protect themselves, and protect others. The OHSA provides the following definitions of the workplace parties and their responsibilities.


Employer (sections 25 and 26): a person who employs one or more workers or enters into contract for the services of one of more workers.

Responsibilities include

  • appointing “competent” persons as supervisors
  • establishing and maintaining a Joint Health and Safety Committee or a health and safety representative as required
  • performing workplace inspections
  • conducting incident investigations
  • conducting health and safety employee training
  • correcting substandard acts or conditions
  • ensuring machinery and equipment are used safely
  • providing health and safety work processes
  • ensuring safety policies, procedures, and practices are developed, communicated, and followed
  • posting and sharing appropriate information and reports related to health and safety
  • designing processes to control or eliminate hazards.

Supervisor: (section 27): a person who has charge for the workplace or authority over a worker.

Responsibilities include

  • ensuring that a worker complies with the OHSA and related regulations
  • ensuring that equipment, protective devices, and clothing required by the employer is used or worn by workers
  • performing workplace inspections
  • conducting information sessions (e.g., safety talks, toolbox talks, staff meetings)
  • conducting incident investigations
  • conducting employee health and safety training
  • correcting substandard acts or conditions
  • commending employee health and safety performance
  • performing employee health and safety observations.

Worker (section 28): a person who performs work or provides services for monetary compensation.

Responsibilities include

  • using or wearing equipment, protective devices, or clothing as required by the employer
  • reporting to the employer or supervisor any known, missing, or defective equipment or protective devices
  • working in compliance with the OHSA and related regulations.