No matter the size of your tourism or hospitality business, you need to have an occupational health and safety (OHS) program in place. It’s the law.
An effective OHS program helps you prevent incidents and injuries. It also helps you deal with any incidents that do occur.
The specifics of what you need in an OHS program will vary depending on the number of workers you have. But all effective programs share key elements, which include the following:
- Develop a Health & Safety Policy
- Know About Responsibilities
- Identify Hazards & Manage Risk
- Develop Safe Work Procedures
- Orient, Train & Supervise Workers
- Inspect Your Workplace
- Investigate Incidents
- Hold Safety Meetings
- Provide First Aid
- Create & Support a Joint Health & Safety Committee
- Other Elements of an OHS Program
Every workplace is different, so it’s important for you to develop an OHS program that addresses the specific needs of your operation. You need to review your OHS program annually and include workers in the review process.
The requirements for workplace health and safety in British Columbia are described in the Workers Compensation Act (the Act) and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (the Regulation).
The Act describes the jurisdiction of WorkSafeBC and its authority to make regulations, inspect workplaces, issue orders, and impose penalties. It also describes the rights and responsibilities of employers, supervisors, and workers in relation to health and safety. Most of these are described in Part 3 of the Act (sections 13-117).
The Regulation contains general requirements that apply to most workplaces, as well as requirements for specific industries. The information in the Regulation is divided into three basic categories:
- Core Requirements (parts 1–4) deal with workplace health and safety basics, including health and safety programs, rights and responsibilities, and workplace inspections.
- General Hazard Requirements (parts 5–19) deal with topics such as personal protective equipment (PPE), chemical safety, protection against noise, and the safe use of machinery and equipment.
- Requirements for Specific Industries and Activities (parts 20–32) — These requirements apply to specific industries, such as agriculture, forestry, and construction.
The requirements that apply to the tourism and hospitality industry are in parts 1 to 19 of the Regulation and in the Act. Many sections of the Regulation also have accompanying guidelines and policies that will help clarify your requirements.