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Manitoba’s new workplace health & safety protections coming into force

March 27, 2014 | By Anthony Capkun

March 27, 2014 – New protections will soon be in place to increase the safety and health of new workers and those in high-risk occupations—along with stronger penalties for employers who are found to put workers’ safety at risk—said Manitoba’s labour and immigration minister, Erna Braun.

“Every worker deserves to come home safe at the end of the day. These amendments will help build a stronger safety culture by providing for stop-work orders and immediate penalties for unsafe workplaces, and ensuring that new workers have the information they need to be safe at work, and understand their safety and health rights,” said Braun.

The new and amended provisions of the act and regulations come into effect April 1, 2014, and incorporate changes recommended by the Minister’s Advisory Council on Workplace Safety and Health during the 2012 review of the act. They include:

• Providing immediate fines for activities presenting an imminent risk to workers or for backsliding to unsafe conditions after complying with an improvement order.

• Penalizing employers that prevent workers from exercising their legislated safety and health rights.

• Providing Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health the authority to issue a stop-work order to prevent an employer from engaging in a specific task anywhere in the province if that task may place workers at imminent risk of serious injury or illness.

• Clarifying employers’ duties to provide workplace-specific safety and health orientation before a new worker begins work at a workplace, or returns to a workplace where the hazards have changed during his absence.

• Outlining the role and scope of Manitoba’s new chief prevention officer position, including the requirement for an annual injury and illness report.

• Clarifying the criteria for granting an exemption from a regulatory provision or safety and health committee requirement for multiple workplaces.

Under the legislation, employers will be required to ensure that each safety and health representative or committee member is trained to competently fulfil his duties. Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health is explicitly required to take into account information provided by affected parties when making a decision with respect to appeals, exemptions and variances.

CLICK HERE for information on all of the changes.

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