As Canada endures another cold snap, many employers want to know what they need to do to ensure outdoor operations go smoothly and safely.
Temperatures across the country have plummeted and if workers are not appropriately dressed, severe injuries can occur.
Using and providing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment): What do you need to do?
All jurisdictions have PPE requirements, policies, and legislation. Employers are responsible for ensuring these are being followed in the workplace – from storage and cleaning to usage. However, this does not mean employers are expected to pay for the PPE being used. Laws may outline what and how PPE should be implemented but not necessarily whether it should be provided without cost to employees. Who should foot the bill?
Confirming jurisdictional and federal differences to maintain compliance is imperative. Refer to the CCOHS list of Departments responsible for administering OH&S in provinces where your operations take place.
British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Yukon all have policy or legislation specifying who is responsible for paying for specific types of PPE. BC and Yukon expect workers to have appropriate clothing (including gloves, footwear and hard hats) but specialized items or PPE outside this scope must be provided by employers. Alberta companies pay for respiratory equipment however other items are not specified. WorkSafeNB simply states the decision is “best made by the workplace parties”, and approved PPE is supplied by the employer in Saskatchewan.
Canadian legislation does not mandate who is responsible for purchasing items, instead it focuses on use. The same holds for Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, and PEI.
Employers in Quebec, NWT, and Nunavut provide PPE at no cost to workers.
It is important to note that even if an employee is obliged to purchase their own equipment, the employer must still confirm it is the correct type and is in working condition.
Employers and workers need to be especially clear on what items must be on hand to keep everyone safe and productive during extreme weather. Be proactive, be safe, and stay warm!