What is a H&S program?

An H&S program is a coordinated system of procedures and processes used to improve occupational health and safety and prevent injury and illness in the workplace.

Employers, workers, and other work site parties are responsible for their own health and safety, as well as that of everyone at or near the work site. The program encourages people to be aware of their roles and responsibilities and to work together to identify and solve health and safety concerns.

Core elements of a H&S program are:

  • H&S Policy
  • Hazard Assessments
  • H&S Committee or Representative
  • H&S Training Program (WHMIS, Committee Training, Inspection Training)
  • Procedures for when other worksite parties are on site (Suppliers, contractors, etc.)
  • Inspections
  • Emergency Response Plans
  • Incident reporting and investigations
  • Procedures for work refusals
  • Worker participation
  • Program administration

Step 1: Review the government’s guidance on H&S programs

Below are some helpful links from Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) to get you started on building your program.

Use the OHS starter kit to guide you through other steps:

Step 2: Determine if you require a H&S committee or representative

Your committee/representative will be crucial in helping you develop your program and keeping it current.

a) Start by determining whether your work site requires a H&S committee, or simply a representative.

b) As of December 1, 2021, changes to OHS laws mandate that ALL members of your H&S committee or representative must attend mandatory training.

Register for Joint worksite Health and Safety Committee/Representative Training through the AHLA.

c) Your committee or representative should utilize the OHS education and resources to help them with their responsibilities.

Step 3: Hazard Assessment & Control

All employers are required to have hazard assessments completed for each work site no matter how many workers they employ.

Do you need a health & safety (H&S) committee or representative?

  • Employers with 20 or more regularly employed workers must establish a health and safety committee.
  • Employers with 5 to 19 regularly employed workers must select a health & safety representative.

(A regularly employed employee is a staff who works at your property on a regular basis and is usually not a casual employee)

According to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation, ALL members of the health and safety committee or the health and safety representative must be trained at a minimum, on the following:

  1. Roles and responsibilities
  2. Obligations of worksite parties
  3. Hazard Assessments

Register for Joint worksite Health and Safety Committee/Representative Training through the AHLA.

Learn more: Occupational Health and Safety, Act Regulations and Code