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When OHS Officers come knocking are they talking and walking compliance-focused approach to safety!

Just this past week I was asked by numerous friends and companies what are the key points in OHS Laws and what is in the heads of the OHS officers that come to visit from a law enforcement point of view, the answer was simple….compliance!

In OHS rules, Compliance is either a state of being in accordance with established guidelines or specifications, or the process of becoming so. The definition ofcompliance can also encompass efforts to ensure that organizations are abiding by both industry regulations and government legislation.

Compliance is a prevalent business concern, partly because of an ever-increasing number of regulations that require companies to be vigilant about maintaining a full understanding of their regulatory compliance requirements.

What inspectors are looking at: An OH&S compliance focused approach  is a framework of interdependent components that include the full scope of processes, people, infrastructure, technology and organizational activities established by market participants to achieve compliance with applicable market rules.

While this is understandable to some extent, in many ways the supervisor or lead hand or foreman profession is perhaps not focused enough on legal compliance. Because of that, the way the compliance message is being delivered in many organizations isn’t effective.

compliance-focused approach that is risk-based and focuses on the desired outcome—a safe, healthy and prosperous in your province or state. The Code of Compliance by OHS departments provides a consistent set of Values, Elements of Professionalism and Service Principles for regulatory compliance staff. The Best Practices provide a framework for regulators, as an entire organization, to approach their compliance goals. Some elements of the Best Practices may not be relevant to your role or may only be relevant in the exercise of certain functions, but as a whole they speak to the comprehensive role your organization plays as a regulator.

Knowledge of the legal and regulatory environment is necessary to conduct an effective SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) for strategic planning purposes. And the ability to assess and manage legal and financial risks from employment-related litigation should be part of any organization’s overall risk management strategy in the face of an ever changing legal and regulatory landscape.

A compliance-focused approach asks regulators to focus on the objectives of regulatory law and policy and then consider the most innovative, efficient and effective method of achieving compliance. This shift in focus can lead to proactive approaches to compliance based on prevention, such as compliance assistance, guidance and education, rather than solely focusing on the investigation of compliance failures. When combined with risk-based targeting, this new approach can help achieve maximum compliance.

Somewhat paradoxically, some management professionals are perceived to be too focused on legal compliance precisely because they don’t know enough about the law. This is because that lack of knowledge can lead to worrying too much about trivial legal risks.

And yes it has been noted in may a board meeting: Another part of company programs supposed over-emphasis on compliance relates to compliance with the organization’s own internal company policies and procedures. By taking a bureaucratic, one-size-fits-all approach to company governance and insisting on rigid compliance with organizational rules and norms, A company and its senior staff can do itself a disservice.

In Canada broadly and in Ontario in particular, the pursuit of decent work entails three normative goals: the promotion of social minima, universality, and fairness. Social minima refers to “ensuring that workers benefit from minimum acceptable conditions of employment and … actively promot[ing] the adoption of socially desirable terms and conditions of employment.” These normative goals contribute to, and are reinforced by, the workplace policy objectives of assuring basic labour standards, protecting against major down side risks associated with employment and mitigating against power imbalances and resulting abuses. Such workplace objectives translate into, and are shaped by, both OHS laws (protections against exposure to unacceptably hazardous working conditions and provisions for worker involvement in OHS management)

Your Province or State, The Code will also ensure that businesses and the public are treated fairly and with respect when they are being licensed, inspected, investigated, audited or otherwise regulated. Consistent, professional and efficient service in regulatory compliance activities respects individuals and allows businesses to better focus on increasing competitiveness and economic growth while complying with governments rules and regulations.

How is this applied evenly and justly?

Their powers include the following:

·        proactive and reactive inspections of provincially regulated workplaces

·        issuance of requirements or administrative orders where there is a contravention of the OHSA/OH&S or its regulations

·        investigation of critical injuries, fatalities, work refusals and health and safety complaints, and,

·        initiate prosecution under the POA in respect of offences under the OHSA/OH&S and/or its regulations.

A prosecution may be initiated when the inspector has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a workplace party has committed an offence. This means that prosecutions may be commenced against any workplace party who commits an offence.

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