Workers Compensation Board of Prince Edward Island
Healthy Workplaces
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Occupational Health and Safety

The purpose of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS Act) is to secure workers from risks to their safety, health and physical or psychological well-being arising out of their work. The OHS Act is based on the Internal Responsibility System, which places the responsibility for workplace health and safety on everyone in the workplace. Compliance with the safety responsibilities in the OHS Act is essential to a strong Internal Responsibility System in the workplace.


Employers

The employer has the greatest responsibilities with respect to health and safety in the workplace and is required to take all reasonable precautions to protect workers. The employer is responsible for ensuring that the safety requirements are communicated and enforced, and all appropriate programs and policies are established and maintained.

Safety culture is consistent with, and part of, the larger culture of the organization. A psychologically safe culture is one where there is a shared belief and commitment promoting and protecting the physical and psychological safety of all involved. This involves timely action to identify and address risks.

Identify areas for improvement:

  • To help your organization assess and improve its health and safety performances, complete the Safety culture assessment questionnaire, and follow-up questions, for your oganization.


Workers

Worker responsibilities include reporting hazards in the workplace, working safely, following safe work practices, using the required personal protective equipment for the job at hand, and participating in health and safety programs established for the workplace.

Workers who perceive the workplace as protective of their physical safety may feel more secure and engaged at work. Research has shown that when workers feel safe, they experience lower rates of psychological distress and mental health problems. The sense of physical safety protection is enhanced by adequate safety training, trust that the employer minimizes physical hazards, confidence that the employer responds quickly and effectively to safety incidents and the opportunity to have meaningful input into workplace policies and practices.

Protection of Physical Safety

There are many parts of the physical workplace that can impact workers. There may be hazards that are part of the job (eg., machinery, chemicals, lifting, noise, temperature). All workplaces have physical hazards. It is how a workplace addresses those hazards that make workers feel safe. The physical work space may not only affect a worker physically, but can also have an impact on their mental health.

How can employers ensure that workers feel safe in their physical environment?

Appropriate actions may include: policies, safety training, machine guarding, personal protective equipment, or competent supervision. Taking care to protect the physical safety of workers can help make sure that workers feel safe coming to the workplace, thus reducing the potential of psychological distress and mental health problems.

Workplaces that fail to protect physical safety are likely to be more dangerous. Also, workers who do not see the workplace as protecting physical safety will feel less secure and less engaged, and this will increase the potential of psychological distress and mental health problems.

Although workers may not be feeling secure and engaged at work, this does not necessarily equate to a workplace that is physically unsafe. Physical safety is simply one of the factors that may impact the psychological health and safety of the workplace.

  • Complete the safety culture assessment to determine if the employer is adequately addressing the physical safety hazards in the workplace

Resources:

Resources


Occupational Health and Safety Act, PEI
    
Information on Workplace Health and Safety, WCB PEI
    
Guide to Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees, WCB PEI
Occupational Health and Safety Act, PEI
    
Information on Workplace Health and Safety, WCB PEI
    
Guide to Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees, WCB PEI

Videos


Protection of Physical Safety, WorkSafe SK
Protection of Physical Safety,
WorkSafe SK