Government of New Brunswick updates the Occupational Health and Safety Act

The Government of New Brunswick has introduced changes to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act. The amendments, based on recommendations by...

Government of New Brunswick updates the Occupational Health and Safety Act

The Government of New Brunswick has introduced changes to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act. The amendments, based on recommendations by WorkSafeNB, received Royal Assent today.

While most changes are administrative in nature, two have larger implications for New Brunswick employers and workers:

  • Amendment to Section 14 of the Act requiring joint health and safety committee (JHSC) minutes to be submitted to WorkSafeNB automatically, and
  • Harmonizing the requirement for Type 2 headwear on project sites.

Effectively immediately, JHSCs no longer need to automatically submit their meeting minutes to WorkSafeNB. However, committees must continue to take meeting minutes, retain them for a minimum of three years and have them available to WorkSafeNB on request.

This change was strongly supported by stakeholders during consultation efforts. One hundred and nineteen people responded to a request for feedback and 96% were in favour of the amendment. New Brunswick was the only Canadian jurisdiction requiring submission of minutes to the organization.

The amendment to headwear also aligns New Brunswick with other Canadian jurisdictions. While WorkSafeNB has been communicating the expected change for several months, WorkSafeNB will focus on awareness rather than enforcement over the next six months.

We applaud the government on updates to the OHS Act, ensuring they are meeting current needs of our workplaces and collaborating with us to make New Brunswick the safest place to work.

Changes include:

  • Updating definitions to modernize the language or to align with other parts of the legislation.
  • Clarifying legislated requirements for health and safety programs.
  • Resolving inconsistencies between English and French provisions.
  • Requiring employers to maintain minutes for a minimum of three years (and have them available to WorkSafeNB on request) rather than requiring employers to send meeting minutes to WorkSafeNB (Section 14).
  • Harmonizing the requirement for Type 2 headwear on project sites (General Regulation 91-191).

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