[author: Adrian Miedema]
The Ontario Ministry of Labour has released a safety poster that employers are now legally required, under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, to post in their workplaces. The MOL says that its inspectors will “begin enforcing the requirement” on October 1, 2012.
The poster, which is available in 17 languages, is called “Health and Safety at Work – Prevention Starts Here”. It may be downloaded and printed from the MOL’s website (click here). The MOL had previously released a draft of the poster for consultation.
Section 25(1)(i) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires employers to “post, in the workplace, a copy of this Act and any explanatory material prepared by the Ministry, both in English and the majority language of the workplace, outlining the rights, responsibilities and duties of workers”. The MOL states that the poster is such “explanatory material prepared by the Ministry”, and therefore it must be posted.
On its website, the MOL says, “The poster summarizes workers’ health and safety rights and responsibilities and the responsibilities of employers and supervisors. It also reminds employers that they must not take action against workers for following the act or for raising workplace health and safety concerns, and seeking enforcement of the OHSA. The poster encourages workers to get involved in health and safety and explains when and why to contact the Ministry of Labour.”
The poster also sets out a toll-free number for employees to call the MOL.
The creation of the poster was one of 46 recommendations of the Expert Advisory Panel on workplace safety, which released its recommendations to the Ontario Minister of Labour in December 2010.
Ontario employers should put up the poster as soon as possible. Inspectors will look for it when they arrive at workplaces. By posting the poster, employers send a signal to MOL inspectors that they are on keeping on top of health and safety law developments.