Tips for homeowners planning a residential construction or renovation project

Are you planning to build your dream home, finish your basement or add a new deck?

New Brunswick’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act and its regulations have specific requirements that may affect your project and set the minimum standards for health and safety. 

During construction, your home becomes a place of employment and as a property owner, you have legal obligations to comply with the OHS Act. Property owners must use due diligence to ensure that reasonable steps are taken to protect workers on their property, including hiring safety-conscious contractors. 

Responsibilities of homeowners:

  • Ensure the contractor and subcontractors works safely on your premise. 
  • Provide access to washrooms, drinking water, warm-up room, etc. to ensure contractors can meet their legal obligations. 
  • Provide all health and safety information to contractors on site to ensure their safety: if you are aware asbestos is present you are obligated to disclose, lead paint, electrical hazards, etc. 

Other important considerations:

  • Is the relevant contractor adequately insured? As a property owner, you may be inadequately protected from liability in the event of an injury if you and the contractors/subcontractors do not carry adequate insurance, are not in good standing with their insurance provider(s), and/or if their insurance polices do not provide adequate protection for you.  
  • Relevant areas of insurance include, but is not limited to, workers compensation insurance, general liability insurance, insurance that covers certain professional services, etc.  
  • Employers who have three or more regularly employed workers must carry workers compensation insurance when working in New Brunswick, and employers with fewer than three regularly employed workers normally have the option of enrolling in coverage.  
  • Sometimes, employers forget to register for workers compensation coverage, fail to report their payroll, or are unable to pay their premiums. Savvy homeowners know they can locate and download a Worker’s compensation clearance on WorksafeNB’s website. A clearance certificate is a statement that confirms if an employer is in good standing as it pertains to their workers compensation policy. 

During construction, your home becomes a place of employment and as a homeowner, you have legal obligations to comply with the OHS Act. Homeowners must use due diligence to ensure that reasonable steps are taken to protect employees on their property, including hiring safety-conscious contractors.

Questions for your contractor: 

How long have you been in business?

What licences or qualifications do you have for your trade?

What education and training, including safety training, do you have?

Are employees regularly updated on new processes and equipment?

Do you comply with the OHS Act and its regulations?

Hiring an independent business

As a homeowner, you’re not eligible to register with WorkSafeNB unless you are an employer. If you hire an independent business and are a customer of that business, then you are not eligible for WorkSafeNB insurance coverage. An independent business might look like a business that provides services to multiple customers. When you hire an independent business, you are a customer of that business and not their employer.

It is the responsibility of the business to find out whether they are required or eligible to have their own WorkSafeNB insurance coverage.

Examples of an independent business include:

  • A limited or incorporated company (in other words, they have Inc., Co., or Ltd. after their business name)
  • An individual who is in the business of providing a service such as gutter cleaning, roofing, painting, or landscaping to multiple customers
  • A business that charges one price that includes the cost of the materials and labour together.

As a customer, we recommend that before you hire an independent business, you always make sure that the business is registered with us and making payments as required. If it is not, as a customer you could be held responsible for its premiums. You can check the registration and payment status of a business by getting a clearance certificate from us.

If you hire an independent business that is not hiring any workers (i.e., the proprietor is doing the work) then WorkSafeNB insurance coverage is optional for that proprietor. If you want to receive the services of an unregistered proprietor, it is up to you to discuss your insurance preferences with that person before the work starts.













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