Why does Workplace Health and Safety Matter?

You care about your team

Employees, suppliers, contractors and family members all play important roles in the success of a farm’s operation – and more importantly make up a close-knit community. Everyone deserves to be protected from injury and illness while at work and to go home safe at the end of every day.

Workplace health and safety impacts your bottom line

Workplace incidents can be extremely costly – whether it is an injury that removes an experienced worker from the day-to-day operations, or a piece of equipment that needs to be replaced. These incidents can make the difference in your operation making a profit in a given year, or recordinga loss.

Recognizing the importance of health and safety and developing a farm safety plan will protect your biggest assets – your workers, your family and your business.

It’s the law

In Nova Scotia, the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations establish the standards of workplace health and safety with the aim of preventing workplace incidents, injuries and diseases, and outlines consequences for breaches of those standards.

The Act and Regulations apply to all workplaces in Nova Scotia, no matter the number of employees. However, the requirements each farm needs to fulfill do differ depending on how many regularly employed people you have on your team and the hazards that exist on your farm.


The Department of Labour and Advanced Education defines a workplace as follows, “ ‘workplace’ means a place where a person works for remuneration.”

Regularly employed

Regularly employed includes casual, seasonal, part-time and full-time employees with a predictable recurring period of employment that exceeds four weeks, i.e. someone that comes in to work every other weekend throughout the year would be considered regularly employed.

How does the Occupational Health and Safety Act apply to my farm?

All farms are:

  • Subject to the Act and Regulations.
  • Required to fulfil their responsibilities as employers, as stated in the Act.
  • Required to provide a safe and healthy workplace for all persons at the workplace, i.e. family, employees and
  • visitors.
  • Responsible for determining which specific regulations apply to their operation.

Farms with 1-4 Regular employed employees are:

  • Recommended to prepare and review a written occupational health and safety policy.

Farms with 5-9 regularly employed employees are:

  • Required to ensure employees select one employee who is not connected to management as a safety representative.
  • Required to prepare and review annually a written occupational health and safety policy.

Farms with 20 or more employees are:

  • Required to prepare and review annually a written occupational health and safety policy.
  • Required to establish and maintain a written occupational health and safety program.
  • Required to ensure a joint occupational health and safety committee is formed and maintained.

While this manual will provide you with a high level overview of the OH&S Act, employers have a responsibility to know their obligations under the Act.

To receive a paper copy of the Act, or if you have any questions about which regulations apply to your workplace, you can contact Farm Safety Nova Scotia or the Department of Labour and Advanced Education’s OH&S Division.

Farm Safety Nova Scotia
Occupational Health and Safety Division Department of Labour and Advanced Education