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Legislative Requirements and Best Practices

Small Businesses with 2 to 5 workers

Now that you are an employer, you are responsible for protecting your workers from occupational health and safety hazards. The information below is intended to be a guide. All employers must know and understand the occupational health and safety laws that govern their work. To ensure that you are compliant, review the Occupational Health and Safety Act and related regulations.

Health and Safety Laws

It's important to know and understand Ontario's health and safety laws before you and your workers start work. The Ministry of Labour enforces the Occupational Health and Safety Act and related regulations in Ontario. This legislation is designed to protect workers and employers and to help ensure that everyone goes home safely at the end of the day.

Check out our Legislation section and become familiar with the laws that relate to the type of work you do.

Training Requirements

Depending on the type of work you do, you and your workers must have certain training. For example, if you work in construction, you need to complete fall prevention training. If you do asbestos removal, you need to complete asbestos abatement training.

Review the Training Requirements Chart (W001) to see what type of training you need.

Once you've determined the training you and your workers need to be compliant with Ontario's laws, visit IHSA's Training page to register for courses. IHSA offers more than 85 training programs across the province. You're sure to find what you need.

Standard Operating Procedures

Besides training, one of the most important things you need before you start work is a standard operating procedure. Standard operating procedures (SOP) are written documents that provide detailed explanations of how a policy will be implemented. To be effective, an SOP must communicate who will perform a task, what materials are necessary, where the task will take place, and how the worker will execute the task.

By definition, SOPs are not generic. They depend on the nature of your work and on the equipment you use. They are also specific to your workplace or jobsite. With a good SOP, anyone who is qualified to do the work should be able to follow the step-by-step instructions and complete the task. The SOP provides structure and direction to help make sure that you get consistent results. As the employer, it is your responsibility to develop SOPs and communicate them to your workers.

WHMIS

If you work with hazardous material, you need to complete training in the Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS). IHSA offers this course in a classroom setting or online.

Workplace Violence and Harassment

In 2010, The Ontario Ministry of Labour introduced new legislation related to workplace violence and harassment. This legislation requires employers to have a Workplace Violence and Harassment policy. IHSA offers an online training course that provides you with all the information you need to develop your violence and harassment policy.

Health and Safety Policy and Program

Although it's not required unless you have more than five workers, it's good practice to have a written health and safety policy and a program to implement that policy. Visit IHSA's Policy and Program Templates page for step-by-step instructions on developing an effective policy and program for your business.

Supervisor Training

Once you have a few people working for you, it may be time to designate someone a supervisor. This is especially important if you, the employer, are not always at the jobsite with your workers. IHSA offers an in-class supervisory training course that explains the supervisor's role and responsibilities so that he or she will be prepared for the job.

Check out IHSA's Eight Best Practices for Independent Operators and Small Businesses.

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