New training for small business health and safety representative

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Now available online for businesses with six to 19 workers

Small business workersIn a recent Ontario health and safety inspection blitz of newly registered small businesses, the Ministry of Labour (MOL) visited 2,353 businesses, and issued 361 orders to companies for not having a health and safety representative.

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in Ontario, employers with six to 19 workers are required to have a worker health and safety rep (HSR).

New e-learning program

To help small businesses comply with the law and strengthen their health and safety culture, the MOL and Ontario health and safety associations (including Workplace Safety North) have developed an e-learning program that provides health and safety reps with the knowledge they need to perform their legally-required duties effectively.

The online course is designed to help participants learn at their own pace in their own environment, at their convenience. Topics covered include:

  • Recognizing, assessing, and controlling workplace hazards
  • Resolving health and safety complaints and issues
  • Inspecting the workplace
  • Investigating incidents and accidents such as critical injuries and fatalities
  • Participating in investigations of work refusals

The rep must be selected by workers at the workplace who do not exercise managerial functions or by the union where the workplace is unionized.

“A health and safety rep helps small businesses to strengthen their internal responsibility system by acting as a link between workers and employers for all health and safety-related matters,” says John Levesque, WSN Director of Program and Product Development. “The e-learning program is voluntary and low cost. It’s designed for learners to move at their own pace and can be completed from anywhere with a computer and access to the Internet.”

Employers are required to work with their health and safety representative by: providing them access to information, responding to their recommendations in writing, providing copies of written orders and reports issued by the MOL, reporting to them any workplace deaths, injuries and illnesses, and paying the rep while they are performing their HSR duties.


Health and safety representative basic training (online) – Workplace Safety North

Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) – Ministry of Labour

Health and safety checklist for small business owners – Workplace Safety North

Health and safety primer for small business - WSN