OHS and HR worlds on collision course

When you think of occupational health and safety (OHS), what comes to mind? Many leaders who are not involved with OHS day to day think of it as policies, procedures and rules for preventing physical injury and accidents in the workplace. OHS is often viewed as a specialty function in many organizations, separate from human resources. In some organizations, OHS falls under HR; in others, HR and OHS rarely interact. OHS operates as a risk-management system whose day-to-day objective is protection of employees from accidents and workplace hazards such as noise, toxic substances and chemicals. OHS systems facilitate reporting, metrics and audits to ensure conformity to safety standards and procedures. OHS is defined by each province. In Nova Scotia, workers’ health and safety in the workplace are protected by the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations that spell out what employers are expected to do to protect employees.

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Article by Bill Howatt, chief research and development officer of work force productivity with Morneau Shepell.