Act First Safety

Sharing the Goal of Workplace Safety

We all share the goal of making Ontario’s workplaces safe and healthy.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act provides us with the legal framework and the tools to achieve this goal. It sets out the rights and duties of all parties in the workplace. It establishes procedures for dealing with workplace hazards, and it provides for enforcement of the law where compliance has not been achieved voluntarily.

Changes to the Act in 1990 and subsequent years continued the evolution of occupational health and safety legislation in Ontario since the Act came into force in 1979. These changes reinforce the Internal Responsibility System (IRS) and the workplace structures, in particular the joint health and safety committees that have proven to be effective in establishing a strong IRS and health and safety culture in the workplace.

Employers should note that the Act makes it clear that the employers have the greatest responsibilities with respect to health and safety in the workplace. However all workplace parties have a role to play to ensure that health and safety requirements are met in the workplace. All workplace parties have a responsibility for promoting health and safety in the workplace and a role to play to help the workplace be in compliance with the statutory requirements set out under the Act. The respective roles and responsibilities for all workplace parties are detailed in the Act. This is the basis for the Internal Responsibility System.

Every improvement in occupational health and safety benefits all of us. Through cooperation and commitment, we can make Ontario a safer and healthier place in which to work.

Source: Ontario Ministry of Labour at

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