Nova Scotia cracks down on repeat OHSA offenders

The government of Nova Scotia has introduced amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to bolster its tools and enforcement authority for those who repeatedly violate safety regulations, 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 changes would allow a court to grant an injunction to stop an employer with repeat violations as well as 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.

Employers with repeat violations may be required to advise the ministry of future work locations.

The proposed amendments 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.

The Construction Association of Nova Scotia welcomed the proposed amendments.

"We believe education and training are key but we know it's not always enough,” said Duncan Williams, president of the association. “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."