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Understanding Everyone’s Roles When It Comes to Workplace Health and Safety


Engineers in mechanical factory reading instructions.jpegEnsuring health and safety in your workplace is the responsibility of everyone – employers, supervisors, owners, constructors, suppliers and workers.

While some have a much larger role to play, it is important that everyone understands their responsibilities and does everything they can to ensure themselves, and everyone around them, prevent injury as well as they can.

To help you on your way to a safer work environment, here are some of the roles and duties of people in your workplace. For the official duties of each member, see the Government of Ontario’s website and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).


Employers play a big role when it comes to health and safety in the workplace. It is their responsibility to implement safe processes and encourage everyone to get involved.

More specifically, Employers must:

  • Educate, advise and watch over employees to ensure their health and safety
  • Support medical professionals by providing information to qualified medical practitioners and anybody else involved in the diagnosis and treatment of someone who has been injured
  • Appoint competent supervisors who are knowledgeable about, trained and experienced regarding your business and the OHSA, as well as the work environment and possible hazards
  • Inform workers and supervisors about potential hazards and provide the necessary training regarding those hazards
  • Assist the joint health and safety committees and representatives in their duties
  • Employ only those who are legally allowed to work for you
  • Ensure every reasonable precautions are taken to protect workers
  • Ensure a copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act is posted
  • Post explanatory material regarding rights, responsibilities and duties (provided by Ministry of Labour)
  • Prepare a written health and safety policy if you have more than 5 employees and post it in a visible place
  • Provide any occupational health and safety reports to the joint health and safety committee or representative, as well as inform employees of the reports results
  • Ensure structures meet Building Code provisions as well as any other standards and sound engineering practices
  • Create policies for harassment and violence and develop programs that support these issues including processes for investigation and dealing with complaints


Supervisors are those who have been appointed by the employer to have charge of the workplace and over a worker. Even if temporary, someone given these responsibilities is required to fulfill the following duties.

  • Make sure that workers comply with the OHSA
  • Ensure required equipment, protective devices and clothing is properly worn and/or used by employees
  • Advise workers of potential dangers
  • When necessary, provide written instruction regarding safety measures and procedures to be taken when completing a task
  • Ensure every reasonable precautions are taken to protect workers


If you undertake projects for an owner and have control over a project, you may be seen as a constructor.

A constructor must:

  • Ensure the OHSA regulations are carried out
  • Ensure that employers and workers comply with the OHSA
  • Ensure workers are protected


Owners are defined as someone who is a person, tenant, trustee, receiver, mortgagee in possession or occupier of lands/premises and includes those who act as agent of the owner.

Under the OHSA, owners must:

  • Provide and maintain facilities
  • Ensure the workplace complies with standards and regulations
  • Compliantly construct, develop, reconstruct, alter to add to the workplace
  • Provide workplace drawings, plans and specification to the Ministry of Labour, when prescribed


Suppliers who lease, rent or similarly provide equipment must ensure that the equipment is in good condition, properly maintained and in compliance with the OHSA.


If you have been permitted to harvest or use forest resourced on licensed area, you must:

  • Ensure that the OHSA is carried out
  • Ensure employers comply with the act
  • Ensure workers are protected

Directors and Officers

If you are the director or officer of a corporation, you must ensure that the company complies with the OHSA.


Workers also play a critical role in workplace health and safety. Under the OHSA, workers must:

  • Comply with the act
  • Use and wear required equipment, protective devices and clothing as set forth by the employer
  • Report any potential hazards to their employer or supervisor including, but not limited to, missing or defective equipment or protective equipment
  • Not make protective devices ineffective or remove them
  • Temporarily replace protective equipment if the protective device is removed
  • Not use or operate any equipment in such a way that could be dangerous to any worker, including themselves
  • Not engaging in pranks, contests, feats of strength or unnecessary conduct

By ensuring that everyone in your company responsibly conducts day-to-day activities, as prescribed under the OHSA, you can ensure that everyone stays healthy and safe.

For more information on complying with the OHSA and how it applies to your business, contact us today.


About F.A.S.T. Rescue

F.A.S.T. Rescue are health and safety experts offering consulting, supplies and training solutions that help make employees safe in the workplace. We’re passionate about health and safety, offering unrivaled value and solutions with a satisfaction guarantee. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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