The Criminal Code in Canada has been amended such that organizations and even individuals may be criminally liable for failure to take reasonable measures to protect employee safety. But what exactly are “reasonable measures”? Are you actually taking those measures?
In this post, you will learn what liabilities you have as an employer, work alone legislation specific to your own province, and what measures you need to be taking to keep your workers – and your company – safe.
Provinces and Territories Regulating Working Alone
Map of Canadian provinces and territories that regulate working alone
Seven provinces in Canada regulate working alone:
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Prince Edward Island
Two territories in Canada regulate working alone:
- Northwest Territories
The purpose of these regulations was to ensure that workers working alone can do so safely since it was determined that having at least two workers at job sites was not always practical or effective in protecting workers. In these jurisdictions, work alone safety is regulated, and employers must follow protocol to ensure their employees working alone are kept safe. To help you identify which of your employees are classified as “working alone”, read this article.
Regulated Safety Measures Employers Need to Take to Keep Workers Safe:
In the seven provinces and two territories listed above, employers must adhere to specific safety measures to ensure their employees working alone are safe. Below are safety precautions that all jurisdictions unanimously require:
- Conduct a hazard assessment to identify existing or potential hazards that may affect the workers
- Implement appropriate measures to control those hazards
- Establish an effective system of communication between the worker and first responder.
- Check-ins must take place at intervals appropriate to the hazards in the worker’s environment.
Some jurisdictions stipulate more in-depth safety policies from their employers. Find a full list of regulations that stipulate more in detail your provincial requirements here.
Liability Every Employer Has For Their Employees Working Alone:
It is the responsibility of the employer to minimize risk associated with their workers who works alone. If reasonable measures are not put in place to help mitigate risk, companies and individuals may be held criminally liable under Canadian law.
Even beyond that, without proper safety precautions in place, a company may be exposed to risks such as lawsuits, higher premiums on insurance, employee replacement costs, or even damaging media attention. It is therefore of utmost importance to take preventative action to mitigate risk. It is therefore recommended to enact the safety measures listed above in your company.
For more information on work alone policy, and to create your work alone safety plan, find our whitepapers here.