Top 6 occupational health and safety resources for businesses with fewer than 50 employees

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

From April 1 of this year to March 31, 2016, Ontario Ministry of Labour inspectors are visiting new small businesses with fewer than 50 workers in industrial workplaces. They’re checking to see that workplaces are complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act regulations, and that they have a functioning Internal Responsibility System (IRS).

“There are quite a few health and safety programs available to businesses, so it’s important to know approved programs and free resources,” says Tom Welton, Industrial Director at Workplace Safety North (WSN). WSN suggests the following resource material.


Business health and safety brochure cover

1. Health and Safety Primer for Small Business - Workplace Safety North

Brief overview of Ontario law, resources: Four-page brochure download that outlines Ontario law, mandatory awareness training, top 5 tips, and resources. Cost: Free. 


Small company health and safety program webpage thumbnail Safe Workplace Ontario webpage thumbnail

2. Workplace health and safety third-party certification programs - Workplace Safety North

Many larger employers now require contractors to have their health and safety programs verified by a competent third party before starting work at their operations. These voluntary programs provide participating firms with all the essentials for setting up and implementing an effective health and safety program. 

Benefits include assistance in development and maintenance of solid workplace safety program; downloadable customizable manual; help qualifying for contractual obligations regarding occupational health and safety; and peace of mind knowing your organization is diligent in ensuring the health and safety of staff, contractors, clients, and visitors. 

Fewer than five employees: Small Company Health and Safety Program (SCHSP) Cost: Free

Five or more employees: Safe Workplace Ontario (SWO) Cost: One-time registration fee $250 includes resource manual; Annual SWO certification fee: 1-19 employees $100; 20 or more employees $200. 


Small Business Health and Safety Program (formerly SCIP) - WSIB webpage thumbnail 

3. Small Business Health and Safety Program (formerly SCIP) – Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

For firms newly registered with WSIB: The Small Business Health and Safety Program (formerly Safe Communities Incentive Program or SCIP) offered through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is a two-part health and safety incentive program for small business. Part One is an introduction to health and safety for newly registered firms (i.e., registered with the WSIB for 12 months or less). Part Two helps firms develop an effective health and safety program to better manage risks and reduce injury and illness costs. Northern Ontario fall session dates now postedCost: Included in your WSIB premium.


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4.  Safety Groups – Jointly sponsored by Ontario’s four provincial health and safety associations

Workplace health and safety networking group with potential WSIB rebate: The Northern Ontario Safety Group provides firms access to one of the most effective workplace health and safety resources in Ontario. By joining a safety group, companies learn from each other’s experience in how to implement injury and illness prevention programs. Firms that invest and implement effective health and safety programs may also benefit from a WSIB rebate. View Safety Groups video. Cost: Depending on WSIB premium, cost ranges from $250 to $750


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5. Small Business resource material - Ontario Ministry of Labour

Overview of provincial resources and tools: Links and resources to learn about workplace responsibilities and free resources and tools; frequently asked questions, workplace posting requirements, employment standards, and provincial health and safety partners. Also includes Overview of Internal Responsibility System – an effective way to build safety culture. Cost: Free.


Workplace Excellence Awards information sheet cover 

6. Workplace Excellence Awards - Workplace Safety North

Recognition for a job well done: The Workplace Excellence (WE) awards program allows company staff to celebrate their achievements in workplace health and safety. Firms complete an assessment of their current health and safety programs, and receive recognition for being actively engaged in improving health and safety performance.

All submissions are automatically considered for the President’s Award. The top scoring firm in forestry, mining, paper, printing and converting and small business are presented with the President’s Award at the WSN Annual General Meeting each September.



Top 5 health and safety tips for small business - Most frequently issued orders according to Ministry of Labour health and safety inspections

Ontario small business health and safety – Invest in safety for a competitive edge. Free download.

A theory of incidents: You are your brother and sister’s keeper - Occupational health and safety expert Dr. Peter Strahlendorf talks about the Internal Responsibility System’

Health and safety excellence in Ontario workplaces recognized by Workplace Safety North - Three companies presented with top provincial award for their sectors