News Release Archive

Workplace health and safety in Nova Scotia will get a boost in
the new year with improved rules and a new focus on education,
Labour Minister Manning MacDonald said today.

The new Occupational Health and Safety Act and new first aid
regulations are effective as of Jan. 1. As well, the Technical
University of Nova Scotia and Saint Mary's University will mark
the new year with courses in occupational health and safety as
part of their business and engineering programs.

"Nova Scotia is serious about health and safety," said the
minister. "As of Jan. 1, we have a newer, better set of rules for
keeping people safe and healthy at work."

The new act improves three basic rights: the right to know, the
right to refuse unsafe work, and the right to participate in
workplace health and safety issues.

The legislation, which passed through the legislature last May,
followed a lengthy period of consultation. It is based on three
years of review by the Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety
Advisory Council, including participation from over 100 labour
and employer volunteers.

The new first aid regulations include the Canadian Red Cross, in
addition to St. John Ambulance, as a recognized provider of first
aid training. Other changes include special requirements for
remote locations, the option of one first aid coordinator on
multi-employer sites, and new definitions and additions to the
first aid kit.

"Workplace health and safety must be a partnership among workers,
employers and government. I encourage all Nova Scotians to find
out about their rights and responsibilities for health and safety
on the job," Mr. MacDonald said.

The Department of Labour is continuing with information sessions
on the new rules throughout the month of January. Sessions were
held throughout the province during October and November. A video
and plain-English guide to the new legislation is also available.

The following is a list of dates and locations for the
information sessions:

Jan. 14, Yarmouth Colony, Harbour Inn;
Jan. 14, Amherst, Wandlyn Inn;
Jan. 15, Dartmouth, Holiday Inn - Dartmouth;
Jan. 15, Wolfville, Old Orchard Inn;
Jan. 16, Liverpool, White Point Beach Lodge;
Jan. 21, Sydney, Wandlyn Inn;
Jan. 22, Antigonish, Best Western Claymore Inn;
Jan. 28, Truro, Best Western Glengarry Inn.

All sessions are free and will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Businesses may also contact the department to arrange an on-site
briefing for their workplace. Those wishing to register and
receive more information should contact the Occupational Health
and Safety Division at 1-800-952-2687 (1-800-9Labour) or

"Our ultimate goal is reducing accidents and improving health and
safety. That will mean good things for workers, families,
business and the economy of Nova Scotia in 1997 and beyond," the
minister said.


Contact: Jennifer MacIsaac  902-424-4680 or 902-424-3219

         Jim LeBlanc        902-424-8477 or 902-424-4328


New Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act

The new OHS Act is effective as of Jan. 1. It strengthens three
basic rights: the right to know, the right to refuse unsafe work,
and the right to participate in workplace health and safety

- For the first time, employers and employees have the right to
  appeal decisions of officers.

- The legislation gives greater support to workers who refuse
  unsafe work. For example, there are stronger provisions to
  protect workers who have been adversely affected for exercising
  their right to refuse. Officers may order the reinstatement of
  a dismissed worker, the payment of lost wages, the removal of a
  reprimand, or other such action.

- Employees and employers will have the right to accompany an OHS
  officer during workplace inspections and testing.

- OHS policies and representatives will be required in
  organizations with five or more employees. Health and safety
  programs and committees are necessary for companies with 20 or
  more workers. Recognizing the need for employer-employee
  consultation, policies will not be required until July, 1997,
  and programs will not kick in until January, 1998.

- The act clarifies the roles and duties of various workplace
  parties, including the chain of responsibility on
  multi-employer sites. For the first time, owners, professional
  engineers, architects and suppliers of health and safety
  services are included.

- There are new requirements for communicating OHS information
  such as safety committee minutes, inspection reports, testing,
  appeals, etc. Written responses to OHS orders and committee
  recommendations will also be required.

- Penalties will rise from a maximum of $10,000 to $250,000.
  Maximum imprisonment will increase from one year to two years.
  Alternative sentencing is another new option. It might include
  contributing to OHS education, participating in community
  service or publishing details about an offence.

- The act paves the way for OHS officers to use summary offence
  tickets. This would improve the division's ability to enforce
  rules and make the best use of time and resources.

- The act focuses on early training and prevention by phasing-in
  the duty to teach OHS principles in trade schools and community
  colleges. This will be effective Jan. 1, 1999.

Information sessions are taking place throughout the province in
January. For more information please call the Department of
Labour's Occupational Health and Safety Division toll-free at


NOTE TO EDITORS: For an earlier news release on first aid
regulations, please phone 1-800-670-4357 or 902-424-4492.


trp                   Jan. 2, 1997 - 2:10 p.m.