Newfoundland lowers threshold for number of workers that requires safety committee

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New requirements for workplace occupational health and safety came into effect in March for Newfoundland and Labrador, as the province raises the threshold for the number of employees that trigger the requirement to form a safety committee. 

Following amendments to Newfoundland and Labrador’s Occupational Health and Safety Act passed last spring, these new requirements raise the worker threshold for occupational health and safety programs and committees from 10 or more, to 20 or more workers at a worksite. 

Employers with fewer than 20 workers at a worksite now require an occupational health and safety policy and representative, not a committee.  

According to WorkplaceNL, where there are fewer than six workers at a worksite, the employer is to appoint a workplace health and safety designate. 

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“These changes will make it easier for smaller workplaces to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, without compromising the health and safety of their workers,” a spokesperson for Digital Government and Service NL announced in a statement. 

The spokesperson added that the changes will also harmonize the requirements for occupational health and safety committees with most other jurisdictions throughout Canada.  

Active occupational health and safety committees in workplaces with between 10 and 19 workers do not need to disband, according to WorkplaceNL, which notes that the act simply sets a minimum standard. The optimal situation, added WorkplaceNL, is to have a committee with management and labour working together to address safety. 

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