Better shape up! Nova Scotia is stepping up its workplace safety efforts
By Anthony Capkun
November 20, 2013 – The Province of Nova Scotia says it is hiring more safety inspectors and “working with industry to ensure officers are getting to more high-risk workplaces”. The Nova Scotia Construction Safety Association will partner with the province to help identify and target companies with poor safety records.
“Inspections are just one piece of the safety equation,” said Kelly Regan, labour and advanced education minister. “There are many employers already leading the way on safety. We will target those that are not making safety the priority it needs to be.”
These changes, among others, are being made as part of the province’s workplace safety strategy, and align with the auditor general’s recommendations to improve health and safety services, says the province.
Nova Scotians identified more inspections and enforcement as one of six priorities in the province’s workplace safety strategy, says the government. Compliance and follow-up are critical, says the government; while the department follows up on every compliance order, changes will be made to improve how actions are documented. Also, the department will ensure businesses show evidence of compliance for violations that pose significant health and safety risks.
The province also agrees that orders must be acted upon in a timely fashion. The department will act to ensure time frames for response are more consistent, and review its policy around extensions for complying to orders to ensure approvals are obtained and documented before an extension is granted.
“Every day, I see many construction companies that are doing things right, and this will help us focus on the ones that are not,” said Nova Scotia Construction Safety Association general manager Bruce Collins. “This is a perfect opportunity for government and industry to lead together, and build on what we’re already doing to make workplaces safer through education and training.”