Developing an Occupational Health and Safety Policy

While the OH&S Act only requires a written Occupational Health and Safety Policy where there are five or more employees, Farm Safety Nova Scotia strongly encourages all farms to develop a safety policy that will show their commitment to those working and visiting the farm as proof of due diligence, regardless of size.

Due diligence

Due diligence requires that employers take all reasonable precautions, under their particular circumstances, to prevent incidents or injuries in the workplace.

Developing a workplace health and safety policy reinforces your commitment to keeping your employees safe, and emphatically shows that you’re taking direct leadership. When crafting the policy, it’s important to get everyone’s input (especially the Health and Safety Representative and Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee, where applicable) on how you can collectively make the farm a safe and healthy place to work. This policy needs to be much more than just a written document; it needs to be woven into each and every action, task and decision made on the farm and have the ability to constantly evolve based on changes in job functions and business plans. This policy is one of the items that
should be placed in a prominent area in the workplace.

Policy Requirements

The Policy must express the employer’s commitment to health and safety and include:

  • Reasons for commitment to health and safety.
  • Commitment of the employer to co-operate with the employees in pursuing occupational health and safety.
  • Responsibilities of the employer, supervisors and other employees in fulfilling the required commitment.
  • The policy be discussed with all employees at one or more workplace health and safety meetings and must be reviewed each year.

As you’re developing your policy for your operation, look to your workbook for an example to help guide the way.