A "Code of Practice" is a formal requirement designed to address particularly hazardous situations. Either a regulation or WorkSafeNB may require an employer to prepare such a code. There are also codes of practice developed by WorkSafeNB that an employer is required to adopt. There are a number of references in the regulations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act which require a code of practice to be implemented. The codes of practice set out by WorkSafeNB are generally generic. Where an employer is required to establish a code of practice, it will reflect the specifics that must be done at the workplace.
"Procedure" may be required by regulation to be developed by an employer for a specific application. A procedure is more routine in nature and will reflect a series of actions conducted in a certain order. Procedures are commonplace in workplaces and, when dealing with safety, should be written down. There are a number of references in the regulations to procedure requirements.
"Standard" issued by a recognized standard setting agency (such as CSA, the Canadian Standards Association) has a higher status than a guideline and will have credibility with the courts. Where referenced in a regulation, standards have the weight of a regulation and can be enforced as such.
"Guideline"is a document which may be developed either by WorkSafeNB staff or an external source. It will provide background and instructions on how to perform work activities safely. Guidelines usually reflect "good practices" and, to a limited extent, may form the basis for an industry standard. For a guideline to be accepted as a standard, it must be well defined, publicized and accepted as an industry sector standard. While a guideline is not directly enforceable by the courts, it may be accepted as a standard and anyone who falls below that standard will have failed to exercise due diligence.
These terms are listed in order of their "weight" in relation to enforceability. Any one of them can provide an H&S officer with reasonable grounds for believing in the level of care which could be ordered. The main distinction is that, unless prescribed by regulation, the H&S officer's ability to order measures set out within any of these documents is reactionary, as opposed to a legislative requirement to implement them. A failure to abide by an industry standard, guideline or practice, may negate a defence of due diligence.