5.0 Occupational Health & Safety Act

In Ontario, the Occupational Health and Safety Act & Regulations, has established safety regulations and laws. Items below in italics are direct quotations from the Act.

5.1 Supervisors and Their Duties

5.1.1 Definition of a Supervisor

  • A "supervisor" is defined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act & Regulations a person who has charge of a workplace or authority over a worker. (OH&S Act & Regulations, Section 1).

  • The person supervised is an employee of the supervisor or their institution or firm. This means that:

    • The professor directing the research of a graduate student is the direct supervisor of that student if the student is paid a salary for the research work; i.e., the student is an employee.

    • If graduate students do not receive a salary for their research work, being supported entirely through other funds (scholarships, savings, etc.), then they are not an employee and the professor is not their supervisor in the present sense of the Act. The Queen's Department of Chemical Engineering nevertheless operates on the basis that the professor in this case IS the direct supervisor of the students and morally has the same responsibilities towards them in the work place as they do towards an employee doing the same work.

5.1.2 Duties of Supervisor

The duties of a supervisor are:

  1. A supervisor shall ensure that a worker,

    1. works in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by this Act and the regulations; and

    2. uses or wears the equipment, protective devices or clothing that their employer requires to be used or worn.

  2. Without limiting the duty imposed by subsection (1), a supervisor shall

    1. advise a worker of the existence of any potential or actual danger to the health or safety of the worker of which the supervisor is aware;

    2. where so prescribed, provide a worker with written instructions as to the measures and procedures to be taken for protection of the worker; and

    3. take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.

OH&S Act & Regulations, Section 27

A supervisor also has special responsibilities, indicated in Section 12 of this manual, in dealing with accidents involving personal injury or death.

5.2 Workers and Their Duties

5.2.1 Definition of a Worker/Employee

A "worker" (employee) means a person who performs work or supplies services for monetary compensation, i.e. staff, faculty, teaching assistants, lab demonstrators, paid research assistants, post-doctoral fellows, technicians, technologist . . . but NOT undergraduate students or members of the visiting public.

5.2.2 Duties of Workers

  • The duties of a worker are:

    1. A worker shall,

      1. work in compliance with the provisions of this Act and the regulations;

      2. use or wear the equipment, protective devices or clothing that their employer requires to be used or worn;

      3. report to their employer or supervisor the absence of or defect in any equipment or protective device of which they are aware and which may endanger themselves or another worker; and

      4. report to their employer or supervisor any contravention of this Act or the regulations or the existence of any hazard of which they know.

    2. No worker shall,

      1. remove or make ineffective any protective device required by the regulations or by their employer, without providing an adequate temporary protective device and when the need for removing or making ineffective the protective device has ceased, the protective device shall be replaced immediately;

      2. use or operate any equipment, machine, device or thing or work in a manner that may endanger himself/herself or any other worker; or

      3. engage in any prank, contest, feat of strength, unnecessary running or rough and boisterous conduct.

    OH&S Act & Regulations, Section 28

    5.3 Students

    Undergraduate students taking laboratory courses in the Department, or unpaid graduate students are not employees under OH&S Act & Regulations. Nevertheless, it is the policy of the Department of Chemical Engineering that the instructors in these courses shall act as direct supervisors, assuming the same responsibilities towards the students doing laboratory work under their direction as if the students were employees, AND the students shall act as workers and follow the worker guidelines for performance.

    5.4 Right to Refuse or to Stop Work Where Health or Safety in Danger

    1. A worker may refuse to work or do particular work where he or she has reason to believe that,

      1. any equipment, machine, device or thing the worker is to use or operate is likely to endanger himself, herself or another worker;

      2. the physical condition of the workplace or the part thereof in which he or she works or is to work is likely to endanger himself or herself; or

      3. any equipment, machine, device or thing he or she is to use or operate or the physical condition of the workplace or the part thereof in which he or she works or is to work is in contravention of this Act or the regulations and such contravention is likely to endanger himself, herself or another worker.

    2. Upon refusing to work or do particular work, the worker shall promptly report the circumstances of the refusal to the worker's employer or supervisor who shall forthwith investigate the report in the presence of the worker and, if there is such, in the presence of one of;

      1. a committee member who represents workers, if any;

      2. a health and safety representative, if any; or

      3. a worker who because of knowledge, experience and training is selected by a trade union that represents the worker, or if there is no trade union, is selected by the workers to represent them, who shall be made available and who shall attend without delay.

    OH&S Act & Regulations, Section 43(3) & (4)