Legislation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires every employer with 20 or more employees regularly employed at a place of employment to have a JHSC. Although it refers to ‘place of employment,’ the requirement is specific to an individual employer. If employers in a building are not related – like a commercial complex with many small retail outlets – then we would not require a JHSC for that workplace, provided none of the employers has more than 19 employees. In your case, even though the owner of the two firms is the same, we would not require a JHSC if they have different employer names and numbers.
Under the Workers’ Compensation Act, all employers with three or more workers at any time during the year must register for coverage with WorkSafeNB. These workers may be full-time, part-time, casual workers or non-registered contractors, subcontractors or brokers. This is referred to as mandatory coverage. Exception: an employer in the fishing industry must register for mandatory coverage when 25 or more workers are employed. Employers with fewer than three workers can apply for optional coverage.
First, you need to determine whether or not your workplace requires an eyewash station. If the answer is yes, then Sections 11(1) and 11(2) of Regulations 91-191 apply. The regulation requires employers to provide emergency showers or eyewash fountains when a worker’s skin or eyes may come into contact with harmful chemicals. It also requires the shower or fountain comply with the requirements of ANSI Z3 58.1-1990, American National Standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment, or an equivalent standard. This standard describes the specifications and requirements for emergency eyewashes and showers in New Brunswick. Our Emergency Showers and Eyewash Stations Guide and poster may also be helpful.
Requirements of the New Brunswick Occupational Health and Safety Act require employers to address health and safety hazards at the workplace, including buildup of ice and snow. Section 102(8) of the General Regulations 91-191 states: “An employer and a contractor shall each keep outdoor passageways from becoming slippery by removing ice or snow and using materials such as ashes, sand or salt where necessary.” If an employee were to fall and injure themselves because the outdoor passageways were not kept from becoming slippery, they could be eligible for compensation. If you have raised the matter with your employer and it still has not been resolved, you can contact WorkSafeNB by calling 1 800 222-9775 and file a complaint. Normally, a health and safety officer would investigate. If you wish for your complaint to remain anonymous, we will respect your wish.
Section 8 of General Regulation 91-191 specifies the requirements for food and rest periods: “An employer shall allow an employee at least one-half hour for food and rest after each five consecutive hours of work.” We have developed three interpretations for Section 8. They are:
These interpretations should answer your question. You can also share this information with your employer to help you reach an agreement on breaks.
No. Insurance rates are based solely on the relative hazards of the operation and the organization’s accident experience, not on whether workers have disabilities.
The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act requires the employer to post a copy of the OHS Act and regulations, which include General Regulation 91-191, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System 88-221, First Aid 2004-130 and Code of Practice for Working Alone 92-133. In addition, the first aid regulation requires you to post an emergency communication plan and the names of your trained first aid providers. You also need to post the joint health and safety committee (JHSC) minutes and the names of your JHSC members, as well as any reports from a WorkSafeNB health and safety officer. While these are the common posting requirements, you can consult the regulations to see if others apply to your workplace. Please note that WorkSafeNB allows you to post these documents electronically under certain provisions.
Yes, you can lock your office door. Since your company requires you to work by yourself, it must have a procedure on working alone, according to New Brunswick’s Occupational Health and Safety Act – Code of Practice for Working Alone. In addition, every employer with 20 or more employees regularly employed must have a joint health and safety committee (JHSC). If your workplace has a JHSC, it must be involved in developing the company’s code of practice for working alone. Our Health and Safety Orientation Guide For Employers has a sample of a working alone policy. You should also raise your concern with the JHSC, if your company has one. You can also find useful information on working alone in the Guide to OHS Legislation.
It is difficult for us to answer whether a company would be liable in the example you provide. You and your employer may want to seek legal advice. However, the employer should give the employee the option of taking a vacation day or making up time lost if the employee chooses not to come to work for safety concerns.
A workplace can be proactive by developing policies and procedures to guide both employees and the employer when situations like this occur. They could include information as to when the office may close (for example, when universities or government offices close or when the Department of Transportation snowplows are removed from service). They could also address available options to employees when the office remains open but local road conditions are too treacherous to travel home, as well as remuneration for lost work days. WorkSafeNB can provide examples of policies to address this matter on request.
Finally, driving in adverse weather conditions may be unavoidable. In this case, you may want to consider supplementary driver training that addresses driving in bad weather. Most driver training schools have specialized programs. A well-maintained vehicle equipped with winter tires will also improve safety in circumstances where driving in poor weather conditions cannot be avoided.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS)requires employers with 20 or more employees “regularly employed” to establish both a JHSC and a written health and safety program in consultation with its JHSC committee or a health and safety representative.
The OHS Act does not refer to volunteers in its definition of employees. However, WorkSafeNB has developed a policy in which volunteers could be considered as employees under certain circumstances.
While the OHS Act does not define “regularly employed,” WorkSafeNB has developed a legal interpretation to help determine whether employees fit this definition. It states a volunteer who works a predictable number of hours each week, every week, is considered “regularly employed.”
Based on this information, if the number of employees and volunteers exceeds 19 at the food bank on any given day, and the volunteers have predictable schedules and conduct activities that would also be carried out by paid staff, then the food bank should have both a JHSC and a health and safety program. If, however, you conclude that the food bank’s volunteers are not employees and are not “regularly employed,” consider that they still have a right to work in a safe and healthy environment.
If your food bank decides to establish a JHSC and a health and safety program, WorkSafeNB has numerous resources to help. Here are some links to get you started: