With recent changes to Bill C-45, it places legal accountability on Managers (can be sued personally and company may not be able to help defend). If you manage/lead others in projects, no matter what type of industry, the team will face safety hazards.  So ensure you cover this (see below) and create a safety culture.

Changes occurred several years ago to put more responsibility and accountability to managers.

Each provincial government has its own occupational health and safety (OH&S) act and regulations.  Within SK there is the OH&S Act 1996 and OC&S regulations 1996.  OH&S laws are regulatory in nature to encourage compliance and deter non-compliance (vs. punitive in nature).

To get a free download of the Act, goto:

With any work place accident or incident, provincial labour representatives have authority to investigate the accident with potential to recommend charges.  This is also the case with the police, who have the authority to investigate the accident with potential to lay charges.

Criminal code charges may fall under Bill C-45 (which has also been referred to as the “Westray Bill”.  In 1992 the Westray mine had a disaster (after repeated warnings and disregard to safety by management) where 26 people lost their lives.  No one was convicted in association with the disaster. 

Bill C-45 makes it easier to convict an organization and criminally prosecute management personnel of the organization.

Section 217 is summarized as: everyone who undertakes or has the authority to direct how another person does work or performs a task is under legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person or any other person, arising from that work or task.

To help prevent prosecution a person must prove that they took reasonable steps or did their “due diligence” to prevent the accident or incident. Due diligence can be described as:

  • establishing a proper system to prevent commission of an accident or incident and/or
  • taking reasonable steps to ensure the effective operation of the system.

This has elements of subjectivity so a general rule of thumb is to do as much planning in advance as possible, avoid last minute plans or environments that are not conducive to good planning.

Two key methods of taking reasonable steps (due diligence) include:

  • ensuring you and your workers are aware of and in compliance with parts of the OH&S Act and regulations that apply to the job,
  • ensuring you and your workers follow a site/company OH&S program and set of procedures.

Other examples could include:  appropriate PPE, safety meetings, proper supervision, adequate training, work permit system, an emergency response plan, accident investigation system, inspection process, preventative maintenance process, hazard/controls system, quality management system, and good document management.

Additional examples of safety planning methods include:
  • Safety hazard analysis – these are systematic reviews of the processes of the job at hand.  Each job that has potential hazard to personnel, general public or any person that comes on site (suppliers, transport, guests, etc).  In association with the hazards (also known as risk) should be an adequate level of controls put in place.  The risks must be lowered to a manageable level (by use of controls) before the job is started.  
  • Contractor Safety Analysis – in order to dramatically improve the safety of the project, the buyer should ensure that safety is a filtering criteria of the contractor selection process.  Buyers should ensure that at a minimum, information is include related to:
    • safety record;
    • safety milestones;
    • safety tools and techniques;
    • safety performance reporting and communications;
    • safety references;
    • safety training;
    • safety and quality culture (as viewed by all levels of resources);
    • safety and quality methodologies/systems.

  • Incentives – another way to ensure the contractors are focused on safety is to align financial compensation with objective measurements and results of safety.  Examples include bonuses for levels of time without safety incident, and levels of time without lost time due to safety incidents, etc.  Often the incentives do not have to be monetary but can be merchandise, gift certificates, etc.  If utilizing this approach, it must be ensured there is an effective and open system to report all incidents that occur (incidents are not covered up or ignored).

Safety planning is focused on developing a consistent structure approach that manages the hazards to safety of the resources of the project.  Safety planning inputs include:

·         Laws and regulations;

·         Contract requirements;
·         Safety policy;
·         Site location;
·         Management commitment.

Outputs include:
·         Project safety plan;
·         Authority;
·         Budget.

The one true goal of every manager of every industry is to focus on a Safety Culture.  We all want this, so ensure the team understands and is embracing it.