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Occupational Health and Safety Compliance
Occupational safety and health (OSH), also commonly referred to as occupational health and safety (OHS), occupational health, or workplace health and safety (WHS), is a multidisciplinary field concerned with the safety, health, and welfare of people at work. These terms also refer to the goals of this field, so their use in the sense of this article was originally an abbreviation of occupational safety and health program/department etc.The goals of occupational safety and health programs include to foster a safe and healthy work environment. OSH may also protect co-workers, family members, employers, customers, and many others who might be affected by the workplace environment. In the United States, the term occupational health and safety is referred to as occupational health and occupational and non-occupational safety and includes safety for activities outside of work.In common-law jurisdictions, employers have a common law duty to take reasonable care of the safety of their employees. Statute law may in addition impose other general duties, introduce specific duties, and create government bodies with powers to regulate workplace safety issues: details of this vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
Occupational Health & Safety is the industry-leading news magazine, eNewsletter, and website for occupational health and safety professionals focusing on problem-solving solutions, latest news, webinars, and products for the industry.
The terms ‘occupational health’ (‘OH’) and ‘health and safety’ (H&S) can be confusing. They are both very important but are often mistaken for each other, and both encompass a wide range of activities, which overlap with each other to a certain degree. Incorrectly, H&S can conjure up potentially negative images for some, associated with the perception in some quarters of overly-stringent health and safety rules. In reality, however, H&S is a vitally-important discipline defined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as “preventing people from being harmed by work or becoming ill by taking the right precautions and providing a satisfactory working environment”. OH could be described as “the promotion and maintenance of physical and mental well-being of all staff and the prevention of ill health”. Put very simply, it is about the effects of work on a person’s health, and of a person’s health on their ability to work.
The Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) contains legal requirements that must be met by all workplaces under the inspectional jurisdiction of WorkSafeBC.
This includes most workplaces in B.C., except mines and federally chartered workplaces such as banks, interprovincial and international transportation, telephone systems, and radio, television, and cable services.
The purpose of the OHSR is to promote occupational health and safety and to protect workers and other persons present at workplaces from work-related risks to their health, safety, and well-being. Compliance with the requirements provides the basis on which workers and employers, in cooperation, can solve workplace health and safety problems. The requirements are not an end in themselves, but are a foundation upon which to build an effective health and safety program.
WorkSafeBC is committed to the regular review of the requirements of the OHSR based on regulatory experience and changes in knowledge, technology, and work practices. All interested parties are invited to forward suggestions for improvement to WorkSafeBC .
Note: The requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation are adopted under the authority of the Workers Compensation Act as amended from time to time.
Many sections of the OHSR have associated guidelines and policies, which are used to help interpret and apply the OHSR.