What is the Occupational Health and Safety Act?


The Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) sets out the duties of employers in protecting workers from health and safety hazards on the job. Dealing with safety risks and following the rules and regulations of the OHSA are mandatory legal requirements for all Ontario employers.

Ontario’s OHSA for Employers

The Occupational Health and Safety Act applies to almost all businesses in Ontario. As a business owner, you need to be familiar with the laws on how employers must monitor and manage workplace hazards as well as the penalties prescribed by the OHSA. Failure to maintain a general health and safety program or to properly respond to a health and safety incident may result in the levying of fines and imprisonment.

The OHSA requires that employers:

  • Inform, instruct, and train employees regarding health and safety in the workplace;
  • Have a system in place for ensuring the safety of workers;
  • Create a program and policy that sets out how they will monitor health and safety, workplace harassment and workplace violence;
  • Maintain a program and policy for reporting workplace injuries and illnesses to the Ontario Ministry of Labour;
  • Have a program in place governing the handling of hazardous substances and chemicals; and
  • Regularly assess and review all health and safety programs and policies.

Occupational Health and Safety Act Penalties

Employers who contravene the OHSA can be ordered to pay a fine of up to $1,500,000 per charge. The maximum fine per charge for an individual is $100,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months.

Make Sure Your Business is Compliant

It can be difficult to understand the regulations outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act and that’s why Employer Line has you covered. Our team of HR consultants can help protect you, your employees and your business when it comes to health and safety. Give our free employer advice line a call today –1-888-951-8659.