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Canadian Labour Code

The Canada Labour Code stipulates that preventive measures should eliminate hazards and provide personal protective equipment, clothing, devices, or materials. Employers are obligated to supply all workers with the necessary safety equipment. An employee must use all safety supplies, tools, gear, and clothes that the employer provides or that the code specifies. The following workplaces are subject to the Canada Labour Code:

  • Airports, railways, ferries, and canals
  • Banks
  • Petroleum production and exploration on federally controlled lands
  • Bridges and tunnels
  • Grain elevators with Canadian Grain Commission licenses, as well as specific feed warehouses, flour mills, and companies that clean grain seeds
  • Highway transportation
  • Telephone and telegraph systems
  • Pipelines
  • Cable systems, radio, and television broadcasting
  • Shipping Services

Under the Canada Labour Code employers are responsible for making sure that each employee's health and safety are safeguarded while at work. In order to protect their own health and safety as well as the health and safety of others, employees are required to take preventative measures. Increased understanding and awareness of workplace hazards can be acquired through OHSA-aligned Canada safety training and certifications offered by Hard Hat Training.

Occupational Health and Safety Act

The Occupational Health and Safety Act, also known as "the Act," governs workplace health and safety in Canada. The goal of OHSA is to create a legislative framework for businesses to safeguard workers from health and safety risks by:

  • Laying out expectations for employers and employees about the workplace and workers' rights
  • Building an internal responsibility system (IRS) at work
  • Putting procedures and strategies in place to address workplace dangers
  • Ensuring legal enforcement in cases where voluntary alignment has not been achieved

Most employees, managers, employers, and workplaces in Canada are subject to their OHSA. It consists of contractors, building owners, and companies that provide workplaces with equipment or supplies. 

Note that the application of the OHSA is subject to several restrictions. For instance, not all farming businesses are covered, such as those conducted by independent contractors with no employees (a family farm run by a couple with no other workers). Additionally, teachers have additional restrictions and requirements that apply to teachers.

OHSA Fines & Penalties 

The maximum penalties for breaking the OHSA or its rules are outlined in section 66 of the act. If found guilty of a violation of the OHSA, a person may be subject to:

The Internal Responsibility System (IRS)

To develop a strong Internal Responsibility System (IRS) in the workplace, employers and employees alike must stick to their respective statutory duties.The IRS supports a secure and healthy work environment. Employers, managers, and employees all have important responsibilities to play in assuming responsibility for workplace health and safety.

What are the Worker Responsibilities?

Workers have a legal obligation to notify their employer or a supervisor of any health and safety issues they observe at work. Especially if hazards or violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) are discovered.

What are the Employer Responsibilities?

Employers and managers are required to address any reported violations and inform employees of any hazards present. When it comes to workplace health and safety, the employer holds the primary safety responsibilities.

A strong IRS is an essential part of fostering a healthy workplace health and safety culture. The OHSA specifies the respective roles and obligations of all workers. This is the foundation of the internal responsibility system.

What PPE Means for Workers in Canada?

Personal protective equipment (PPE) doesn’t completely eliminate workplace hazards, nor does it ensure that the user will be completely protected. But to ensure a safe workplace, PPE must be used in conjunction with a hazard control program.

Hazard Control Program

A hazard control program includes necessary measures to protect employees from exposure to any dangerous substance or system. Also, a hazard control program should include the training and protocols required to track employee exposure to and health from hazards such as chemicals, materials, or substances, as well as other types of hazards similar to noise and vibration. A written workplace hazard control program should outline the processes employed as well as how their efficacy will be assessed.

In any situation, the employer has a duty to put in place all appropriate safety measures to avoid workplace accidents or injuries. Specific legislation will list some risks and their controls. Employers should seek advice from occupational health specialists such as an occupational hygienist, ergonomist, engineer, or other safety professionals about the best practice when working if there is no obvious way to control a hazard or if legislation does not impose a limit or guideline.

Never consider a legal restriction or recommendation, such as an occupational exposure limit, as a boundary between safe and unsafe. The ideal strategy is to constantly minimize exposures to or the danger of a hazard.

Hierarchy of Control

Every workplace has some level of risk. It should be a priority in any workplace to create a hierarchy of control. This involves:

Thus, PPE are kept for last-resort use when dangers cannot be eliminated or managed well enough. Personal protective equipment is intended to safeguard against risks to one's health and safety. For example, safety boots, safety glasses, and hard hats are made to prevent or lessen the degree of injuries in the event of an accident. 

Other PPE, like respiratory and hearing protection, is intended to fend against infections and unfavorable health impacts. It's critical to keep in mind that PPE simply offers protection. It lessens the risk but does not completely remove the danger.

What Personal Protective Equipment Should You Use?

We've talked a lot about PPE, but what classifies something as personal protective equipment? PPE is specific equipment or clothing worn to reduce exposure to chemical risks at work.

As we've said before, PPE will not totally remove workplace dangers. When the risk cannot be sufficiently eliminated or reduced, PPE is the final safeguard. To offer the right amount of protection, the equipment must be chosen, used, and maintained properly.

Selecting the Right Equipment

Employers are in charge of choosing, providing, and fitting the proper PPE for the workplace's hazardous exposures. They need to consider the different exposure types and the duration of employees' vulnerability, the amount of material utilized, and how it will be used. There will need to be a safety plan in case of a spill or other emergency.

Another important precaution for workplace safety is a Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). Employers should refer to the MSDS before choosing PPE equipment. A MSDS is a list indicating:

MSDSs must be updated to reflect any new regulatory information, such as exposure limits or new health effects data.

Before use, employees should make sure the PPE fits comfortably. The PPE shouldn't limit flexibility or dexterity or cause safety problems like entrapment. Maintenance needs to be done correctly. Follow the cleaning and storing instructions provided by the PPE manufacturer.

PPE Training and Certification

Employers are required to make sure that staff members are instructed on how to use, care for, and store PPE. Workers must also:

Consider enrolling in a training course from Hard Hat Training if any further instruction on how to correctly use and examine PPE is needed. Our training programs are available in a variety of formats, including online, in-person, and in training kits. 

Protective Equipment


Aprons, full-body suits, boots, and other protective gear options should be readily available. Many different materials, including latex, rubber, Viton, and Tychem, can be used to make gloves and apparel. All chemical risks cannot be prevented by a single item. In order to learn which specific protective materials are ideal for the chemicals with which you are working, speak with the product maker, supplier, or PPE provider.

Also take into account factors like the temperature or the requirement for protection against rips, punctures, and abrasion.

Face and Eye

If there is a chance of harm from airborne particles or splashes of poisonous or caustic substances, eye and face protection must be used.

Always use safety goggles or glasses when handling dangerous substances. In cases when there is a possibility of spills, leaks, or hazardous reactions, a face shield may be preferred above eye protection. Generally speaking, contact lenses are wearable with the right eye protection.


An essential component of any safety program is safeguarding workers from potential head injuries. A head injury can leave a worker permanently disabled or possibly kill them. The most popular head protection options are hard hats or safety helmets. Hard hats or protective helmets should typically:


When airborne pollutants exceed occupational exposure limits, respiratory protection is required. The two primary categories of respirators are:

A comprehensive Respiratory Protection Program must be implemented if respirators are used at work. However, employers should note that while helpful, MSDS can’t offer comprehensive and in-depth instructions for respiratory protection. An expert who has examined the work environment must make the decision on the respiratory protective equipment (PPE).

What Does CSA Stand For

The CSA Group is a membership-based, non-profit organization that provides services to Canadian consumers, businesses, and the government.The Occupational Health and Safety Act of Canada has several provisions that mandate adherence to CSA Group standards. These specifications outline what is necessary to lower the risk of workplace accidents.

Online resources for numerous industries, including construction, health care, mining, manufacturing, and agriculture are provided for the CSA standards used in Canada's Occupational health and safety legislation. The CSA Group, formerly known as the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), develops standards in 57 different industries.

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) was founded in 1919 as the Canadian Engineering Standards Association. The CSA is a non-profit membership organization that serves Canadian businesses, the federal government, consumers, and other interested parties. It is recognized and accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).

PPE: It Should Be Free

According to Canadian legislation, employers are in charge of making sure employees are provided personal protective equipment (PPE) and educated on their use. Some may wonder which side is liable for the equipment's cost. To be honest, the law isn’t clear. This is because the phrase "provide" is so vague, different groups can read the law differently.

Who In Canada Pays for PPE?

Employers should pay for PPE. Despite the lack of a clear definition of the equipment's nature in this instance, it is the employer's duty to supply it. Employers might easily divide responsibilities in such open-ended situations.

The Workplace Safety and Health Act guarantees that employers in this jurisdiction are accountable for providing employees with the necessary training and equipment. The requirement that workers wear all apparel and designated PPE is provided by their employers.

Similar to the Construction Industry and Safety Regulation, only "typical occupational attire and equipment" are included in the definition of PPE, leaving out items like hard hats and safety boots. This ultimately results in workers being responsible for the upkeep and cost of basic PPE.