Health and Safety

Online health and safety courses

Nova Scotians can take occupational health and safety courses online.

Courses are offered for free through the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety and SkillsOnlineNS.

Learn more: occupational health and safety courses

Safe workplaces are created by people who care. Your health and safety in the workplace is protected by Nova Scotia'sOccupational Health and Safety Actand Regulations. We are a key part of Nova Scotia's Workplace Safety and Insurance System. Our staff promote, coordinate, administer, and enforce occupational health and safety.

Our Goal: To establish and enforce clear standards to reduce occupational injury and illness.

Contact us:

General Inquiries and Reporting
Toll-free: 1-800-952-2687 (24 hours)
Halifax Metro: 902-424-5400(Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. only)

Mailing Address:
OHS Division
PO Box 697
Halifax, NS
B3J 2T8

Feature Items

Safety notifications

Hazard Alert:

Occupational Health and Safety Act Convictions

Table with information on convictions under the Occupational Health and Safety Act from the past five years, including the convicted employer or person, the offence and the penalty. The table includes a brief summary description of the incident.

Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Bulletin

* Occupational Health and Safety Act Amendments, Spring 2017 Update (PDF)

Healthcare Blitz Report

Occupational health and safety officers are working with health care workers to raise awareness about strain, sprain and inflammation injury prevention.

Officers visited health care facilities across the province to engage workers in discussions about health and safety programs.

The visits were also used to promote general safety compliance and awareness, and to identify areas for improvement while recognizing the efforts that are already being made.

A summary of the findings can be found in the Blitz Report (PDF).

Transition from WHMIS 1988 to WHMIS 2015

The federal Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) legislation was amended February 11, 2015 to align with the Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). Impacting suppliers and employers across the country. We are currently in the transition period. No changes to provincial WHMIS have been made. Nova Scotia is reviewing its Workplace Hazardous Material Information System Regulations to be consistent with the federal legislation.

For information on this and for other resources on WHMIS 2015, go to the National WHMIS webpage.

Should you have any questions, you may wish to contact the Occupational Hygienist for your region by calling 902-424-5400.

Buyer Beware - Aggressive Sales Calls from Private Providers of Workplace Health and Safety Training and Posting Requirements

The Occupational Health and Safety Division periodically receives calls from employers who are themselves receiving aggressive, high-pressure and sometimes misleading calls from private providers of workplace health and safety training specifically WHMIS, safety poster requirements, on-line first aid training, as well as Violence in the Workplace Regulations training requirements.

Regarding WHMIS the private provider caller implies the need for annual training and/or posting of particular safety posters to be in compliance with the Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Legislation. For sales calls about on-line first aid training the caller states that all persons at the workplace need first aid training. For sales calls on the Violence in the Workplace regulations the caller is implying that training is required. The requirements on all of these items may vary depending on the company type and size.

If you have any reservations and/or questions about what is required to be in compliance with any type of OHS training, please contact the OHS Division at 1-800-952-2687.

Earlier this year, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) also issued a warning about the aggressive sales tactics by some training providers. In some cases, it found companies were giving the impression they represented the government, and were indicating the training was required or endorsed by the provincial workplace jurisdiction.

Employers who wish to file a complaint on the tactics of a company soliciting products and training services can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

Smoke Free Places Act has been updated

The Nova Scotia Smoke-Free Places Act was updated May 31, 2015 and the changes have the potential to affect how Occupational Health and Safety officers can enforce this Act. The changes will expand the Smoke-Free Places Act to cover electronic cigarettes and water pipes such as hookahs. The definition of "smoke" was been expanded to include all forms of smoke from any device that burns tobacco or any other substance. “Smoke” means smoke, inhale or exhale smoke from, burn, carry, hold or otherwise have control over a lit or heated cigarette, cigar, pipe, water pipe, electronic cigarette or device that burns or heats tobacco or another substance that is intended to be smoked or inhaled. Enforcing the Smoke-Free Places Act will now include traditional cigarettes and cigars, electronic cigarettes and hookahs

Progress Update on the Workplace Safety Strategy

The Workplace Safety Strategy is a five year plan (2013-2017) aimed at making Nova Scotia workplaces safer.The Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia has recently approved the Strategic Plan 2016-2020 (PDF). The new plan sets a vision for significant, needed change to modernize its organization.

Lone Workers and Occupational Health and Safety Legislation an Information Guide

The OHS Division has received a number of calls regarding the legality of workers working alone. The Division has prepared a Lone Workers Information Guide (PDF) to clarify the occupational health and safety requirements regarding working alone. While there are no OHS regulations that do not allow working alone, except in very specific cases such as confined space entry where an attendant is required, there are several OHS regulations that would apply to lone workers.

Bed Bugs - an OHS Information Guide

The OHS Division has received several questions regarding bed bugs in the workplace and what the possible OHS requirements may be. While there are no specific occupational health and safety regulatory requirements addressing bed bugs, there are some general requirements, similar to any potential health and safety hazard in the workplace, that would need to be met. The Bed Bugs - OHS Information Sheet (PDF) outlines what hazard bed bugs pose, how to address the issues, general OHS requirements that apply and links to information resources.

CSA Standards used in OHS legislation now accessible through CSA Communities

The CSA Group has changed the link to their OHS View Access Site. The OHS View Access Site allows visitors to view OHS Standards referenced in federal, provincial and territorial OHS regulations. Originally developed in 2008, in collaboration with government OHS departments, the latest version now includes a search function allowing users to more easily locate the standard they are looking for, as well as including new references. Note: our link in the top right hand corner of the page has been updated to the new site - if you had book marked this page you may need to update your book mark.

OHS Education Trust Fund

Established in 2001, the OHS Education Trust Fund’s basic objective is to increase awareness about occupational health and safety through education, training, promotion and related activities. To view criteria for funding and down load application forms go to the OHS Education Trust Fund page.