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Rights and Responsibilities

As the employer, you have the greatest control and, therefore, the greatest responsibility for maintaining health and safety in your workplace.

The basis of Nova Scotia’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act is the Internal Responsibility System (IRS). The IRS is founded on the principle that everyone at the workplace shares responsibility for creating and maintaining safe and healthy workplaces and that the greatest degree of responsibility goes to the party with the greatest control in the workplace.


In all workplaces in Nova Scotia, employees have the following three basic rights:

  • To know about anything that could affect health and safety in the workplace.
  • To take part in making the workplace safe.
  • To refuse work that is not safe.


In general, your responsibilities under the OHS Act include:

  • Report a workplace incident or injury.
  • Provide first aid in the workplace.
  • Prevent workplace injury.
  • Create a company safety policy.
  • Know your responsibilities.
  • Establish a health and safety program.
  • Create a joint occupational health and safety committee or representative.
  • Control hazards.
  • Learn from experience.
  • Leadership and training.
  • Establish a return-to-work program

For more information please refer to Section 13 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Office of the Employer Advisor - Assists businesses or associations through advocacy, advice, navigation assistance and training with the end goal of developing a healthy and safe workplace.