Fatality Notice: IHSA has learned of a construction-related fatality in Sudbury involving a construction worker securing a transport trailer load. One workplace fatality is one too many, regardless of the sector, industry, or occupation. Please take a moment to think about those who have died or been injured on the job and re-establish a commitment to the prevention of injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.

Legislative Requirements and Best Practices

Small Businesses with 6 to 19 workers

Once your business grows beyond a few employees, you may need to formalize some of your processes—including health and safety. You may not actually be with all of your employees everyday, so you need to have other systems in place to make sure they all know how to perform their jobs safely.

This information is intended to be a guide. All employers must know and understand the occupational health and safety laws that govern their work. To ensure that you are compliant, review the Occupational Health and Safety Act and related regulations.


Health and Safety Laws

It's important to know and understand Ontario's health and safety laws before you and your workers start work. The Ministry of Labour enforces the Occupational Health and Safety Act and related regulations in Ontario. This legislation is designed to protect workers and employers and to help ensure that everyone goes home safely at the end of the day.

Check out our Legislation section and become familiar with the laws that relate to the type of work you do.


Training Requirements

Depending on the type of work you do, you and your workers must have certain training. For example, if you work in construction, you need to complete fall prevention training. If you do asbestos removal, you need to complete asbestos abatement training.

Review the Training Requirements Chart (W001) to see what type of training you need.

Once you've determined the training you and your workers need to be compliant with Ontario's laws, visit IHSA's Training page to register for courses. IHSA offers more than 85 training programs across the province. You're sure to find what you need.

A company with more than 5 and less than 20 workers may require a Health and Safety Representative (H & S Rep). Unfortunately, many H & S Reps do not have the necessary training to recognize or resolve workplace hazards. For more information on training requirements for H & S Reps, visit the Health and Safety Representatives topic page.


Standard Operating Procedures

Besides training, one of the most important things you need before you start work is a standard operating procedure. Standard operating procedures (SOP) are written documents that provide detailed explanations of how a policy will be implemented. To be effective, an SOP must communicate who will perform a task, what materials are necessary, where the task will take place, and how the worker will execute the task. As the employer, it is your responsibility to develop SOPs and communicate them to your workers.

By definition, SOPs are not generic. They depend on the nature of your work and on the equipment you use. They are also specific to your workplace or jobsite. With a good SOP, anyone who is qualified to do the work should be able to follow the step-by-step instructions and complete the task. The SOP provides structure and direction to help make sure that you get consistent results.



If you work with hazardous material, you need to complete training in the Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS). IHSA offers this course in a classroom setting or online.


Workplace Violence and Harassment

In 2010, The Ontario Ministry of Labour introduced new legislation related to workplace violence and harassment. This legislation requires employers to have a Workplace Violence and Harassment policy. IHSA offers an online training course that provides you with all the information you need to develop your violence and harassment policy.


Health and Safety Policy and Program

You must have a written health and safety policy and a program to implement that policy. Visit IHSA's Policy and Program Templates page for step-by-step instructions on developing an effective policy and program for your business.


Supervisor Training

Once you have a few people working for you, it may be time to designate someone a supervisor. This is especially important if you, the employer, are not always at the jobsite with your workers. IHSA offers an in-class supervisory training course that explains the supervisor's role and responsibilities so that he or she will be prepared for the job.


Health and Safety Representative/Joint Health and Safety Committee Training

According to Ontario law, a workplace with more than five workers must have a designated health and safety representative. An effective health and safety representative helps identify and control hazards on site. For those who want to become their companies' designated Joint Health & Safety Representative, IHSA recommends they take JHSC – Part One and JHSC – Part Two Construction or Transportation.

If the workplace has more than 20 workers, there must be a Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC). A JHSC is made up of management and labour members who work together to identify and resolve health and safety issues at the workplace. For more information on the set-up and function of a JHSC, download IHSA's Guidelines for Joint Health and Safety Committees.

Check out IHSA's Eight Best Practices for Independent Operators and Small Businesses.

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