All employers have the responsibility to provide a healthy and safe place to work. Whether a business is small or large, employers are required by law to take all reasonable precautions to protect their workers from illness or injury. Employers should be aware of the Occupational Health & Safety legislation for each province they have employees working in.
A key success to providing a safe work environment is preventing injuries from occurring in the first place. This can be achieved by establishing a health and safety program, providing training to employees to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to perform their jobs safely, having first aid certified attendants available as well as first aid supplies, ensuring all employees have the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and by regularly inspecting the workplace to ensure all safety standards are being met. Resources for creating a health and safety program can be found by visiting provincial workers’ compensation (WCB) websites.
In the event of a work-related injury or illness an employer must immediately action several procedures.
- If first aid is available it should be offered and applied to the injured worker as soon as possible.
- In the event that first aid care is not available or sufficient, the worker must be transported to a medical facility and it is the responsibility of the employer to provide and pay for this.
- Investigate the incident and report the injury to the appropriate workers’ compensation board without delay. In most provinces the time line for reporting injuries is within 72 hours.
- If a workplace injury is severe or has resulted in a fatality it must be reported immediately.
Following the initial incident an employer is responsible for working with both WCB and the worker to provide a safe and successful return to work. It is important to consistently review health and safety policies and procedures to ensure they are effective and up-to-date with all provincial laws.