Importance of the Occupational Health and Safety Act

The Occupational Health and Safety Act is the foundation for preserving  health and safety in the workplace. It is meant to protect workers from any hazards that are presented on the job by providing everyone on the worksite the framework to achieve a safer place to work. This piece of legislation is very important for all Ontario workplaces as it sets out minimum standards for everyone on the worksite to follow. These standards from the  Occupational health and Safety Act include the explanation of the rights, duties and responsibilities of all workplace parties that is comprised of workers,  supervisors, employers, constructors, owners and much more. Also the standards addresses hazards by providing procedures and preventative measures to resolve them. In addition, the  significance of the Internal Responsibility System (IRS) is highlighted in the Act in  which all workplace parties has a responsibility in ensuring the health and safety of everyone else on the  job site. 

Rights and Responsibilities 

A defining feature of the Act is the inclusion of duties, rights and responsibilities of the parties in the workplace who hold a a degree of authority that can consist of the equipment, materials and other workers. This includes people such as constructors, owners, employers, architects, supervisors, engineers, workers, directors or officers of a corporation, licensees and suppliers. Common  rights given to all employees are the right to participate, the right to know, the right to refuse work and the right to stop work. Moreover an example of duties and responsibilities covered under the Act can be employers who have a legal responsibility to take all the necessary precautions in preserving the health and safety of the workers in the workplace. Officers and directors of the corporation make sure everyone is complying with the Act and the regulations while the workers are responsible for following the Act and the regulations. 


Another key aspect of the Act is the range of hazards presented, and the preventative measures, or procedures, used to circumvent these hazards. These are demonstrated through the Occupational Health and Safety regulations which state in detail how these preventative actions will be carried out. These are applicable to certain industries like construction, industrial establishments, mines and health care facilities. Furthermore, the Act also covers designated substances, Workplace hazardous materials information system (WHMIS) and  violence and harassment in addition to many others that contain the general provisions, rules, policies, instructions and training that is used to protect workers from these hazardous situations. 

Shared Accountability 

Conclusively, one of the major themes of the Occupational Health and Safety Act is everyone’s shared responsibility in preventing accidents or incidents from arising by recognizing potential health and safety hazards and having preventative systems in place to prevent any injury, illness or death from these hazards. Thus all across the Act and the regulations, all employees on site are accountable for fulfilling their requirements as listed in the legislation. Considering the dominant theme of stating workplace parties responsibilities, all parties involved have to ensure compliance is done with the legislation that includes any amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act. 

Contact Aceis Group to get answers to your questions about the Occupational Health and Safety Act.