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Creating a safety culture in Nova Scotia has been an important part of the conversation during NAOSH Week. Safety in Nova Scotia’s workplaces is grounded in the Internal Responsibility System. Essentially, the system stresses that everyone involved in a job site shares the responsibility for the health and safety of everyone at that workplace.
In Nova Scotia we know we need to “have each others’ backs” when it comes to workplace safety. That means we should be thinking and talking about safety as a regular and ongoing part of the workday. We should also be sharing safety tips and best practices with our colleagues.
While we all have a role to play in keeping a workplace safe, the Internal Responsibility System recognizes that people have different jobs and authority in any workplace. And while the boss may have the ultimate responsibility for his or her workplace, everyone else has responsibility for themselves, their co-workers and their work environment too, relative to their role in the organization.
The IRS is about everyone taking the initiative to improve health and safety in the workplace and is the foundation of occupational health and safety law in Nova Scotia.
What does it mean by “everyone taking the initiative?” It involves three simple steps:
1. Encourage people to reduce risk and set a good example for their co-workers
2. Develop and implement health and safety practices and provide training to create awareness in the workplace
3. Encourage open discussion and reporting of health and safety issues
These three steps will go a long way in having those who actively participate in a workplace take responsibility for the safety of that workplace.
Nova Scotia is making good progress in reducing the number of workplace injuries. But even one is too many, and we still have a lot of work to do. Recommitting ourselves to the principles of the Internal Responsibility System during NAOSH Week is a good reminder that everyone has a role to play in making Nova Scotia a safer place to work.You can find out more about the Internal Responsibility System here.