On September 1, 2009, the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador introduced new safety regulations in that province. The new regulations replace those that have been in place for the last 30 years.
In an article published by the Workplace Health and Safety Compensation Commission (WHSCC), the Minister of Government Services was noted to have stated: “These new regulations will support the safety culture in all workplaces and will reflect and, in fact, complement the safe work practices that many safety minded employers already have in place.”
Highlights of the new regulations include the following:
- Requirements to comply with the most recent version of a named code or standard, rather than a specific version which may be outdated;
- Requirements for procedures to enter enclosed or partially enclosed spaces with restricted access and egress;
- Additional general requirements for fall protection, as well as requirements for identification of fall protection systems and construction of guardrails;
- Requirements de-energizing and locking out procedures prior to performing work on equipment;
- Requirements to establish and maintain hearing conservation programs where workers are exposed to noise above permissible levels;
- Clarification of blaster responsibilities and industry-accepted safe blasting practices for blasting operations;
- Requirements to identify and assess risks to workers who may be exposed to musculoskeletal injuries, and to provide training and education to those workers;
- Requirements to develop written procedures for checking the wellbeing of workers who work alone;
- Requirements for the certification of crane operators, to ensure that they have the appropriate trade qualification as determined by the Department of Education; and
- New requirements to have employ ers conduct a risk assessment focussed on the prevention of violence in the workplace, and to establish controls and training programs for workers.
In drafting the new regulations, the Ministry of Government Services consulted with industry, labour, employers, other Provincial Government departments and anyone interested in safe work procedures. Feedback was noted to have been positive and there was agreement in the need to update the existing regulations, as well as establish new requirements for some high risk activities.
These changes are in addition to the changes made to that province’s Occupational Health and Safety Act earlier this year. Those changes include adding the definition of and duties for supervisors.