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New administrative penalties in effect in Nova Scotia

By COS staff
| www.cos-mag.com

After months of consultation with workers and employers, Nova Scotia's new administrative penalties regulations took effect Oct. 1.

Administrative penalties, or fines, are used to improve compliance with workplace safety laws, helping to keep workplaces safe and workers protected.

Hundreds of employers, workers and safety partners took part in a review of the regulations to help identify areas for improvement. The result includes a process for targeting repeat offenders. The new regulations also include a graduated system of enforcement, a greater focus on education and relationship building, and revenue from administrative penalties going towards workplace safety initiatives.

"I commend government for engaging in extensive consultation," said Jim Cormier, Atlantic director of the Retail Council of Canada. "We stressed the need for on-site inspectors to have more discretion around enforcement as well as the need to focus more efforts on education and the inspection of high-risk sites. I was pleased to see the feedback reflected in the changes."

The government is also reaching out to employers and workers to improve additional health and safety regulations. Proposed changes have been drafted based on input from safety partners.

Before the changes are finalized, the department wants to hear from the employers and workers who are directly affected.

"We're seeing a lot of positive changes in workplace safety," said Minister of Labour and Advanced Education Kelly Regan. "Change is often born of need, and we know employers and workers are the best people to tell us what that need is. I'm encouraged by their level of engagement, and I'd like to invite everyone to have their say in this consultation."

Proposed changes include improved safety training in workplaces and enhanced hearing protection.

Feedback on the draft regulations will be accepted until Dec. 19. For more details on the proposed changes and how to submit comments, visit [a href="http://www.novascotia.ca/lae/policy/WHSRsConsultation.asp" target="_blank"]www.novascotia.ca/lae/policy/WHSRsConsultation.asp.

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Occupational Health and Safety inspectors also recently conducted a province-wide blitz. Inspectors visited 66 high-risk sites where they noted an increase in compliance related to fall protection regulations.

These unscheduled safety inspections are part of the work underway to increase targeted inspections by 200 per cent, and educate employers and workers on their responsibilities under the Workplace Health and Safety Regulations.

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