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Amendments Strengthen Occupational Health and Safety Act

Amendments introduced today, April 26, will strengthen the Occupational Health and Safety Act and help keep Nova Scotians safe at work.

The changes give government additional tools and authority to enforce safety requirements for those who repeatedly violate safety regulations and laws, putting workers at risk of serious injury or death.

“Most employers operate safe workplaces, but there are some who repeatedly break serious safety laws, and we need to hold them more accountable,” said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan. “With these changes, we are getting tougher on those who, again and again, put people at risk of serious injury or death.”

The proposed amendments will:
–- define serious injury as an injury that endangers life or causes permanent injury, and repeatedly as occurring more than once in the previous three years
–- allow the court to grant an injunction to stop an employer with repeat violations which put workers at risk of serious injury or death from working in an industry
–- require an employer with repeat violations which put workers at risk of serious injury or death to advise the department of future work locations
–- allow stop-work orders to be issued at more than one site operated by the same employer where the same serious risks are believed to be present
–- provide a list of reportable injuries and allow email or phone reporting

“At the Construction Association of Nova Scotia (CANS) we’re committed to making Nova Scotia a safer place to work for our loved ones, our family and friends,” said Duncan Williams, president of CANS. “We believe education and training are key but we know it’s not always enough. These changes will make it harder for people who repeatedly disregard safety laws to operate unsafe businesses and I think that’s a good thing.”

These amendments are part of government’s overall efforts to improve workplace safety, which also include Nova Scotia’s Workplace Safety Strategy, enhanced education and outreach efforts, more targeted inspections and the hiring of a dedicated occupational health and safety prosecutor.

The changes will take effect on proclamation.

Source: Release

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