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Nova Scotia

Establish a health and safety representative

In Nova Scotia, workplaces with between 5 and 19 workers must establish a health and safety representative. This representative must not be a manager or supervisor. Your workers choose someone to represent them. 

The health and safety representative is the link through which you and your workers can work together on matters pertaining to health and safety in the workplace. 

Tips for establishing and working with your health and safety representative:

Explain the role of a health and safety representative to your workers

The health and safety representative brings worker concerns to managers and business owners on behalf of all the workers. The role also includes:

Ask your workers to pick someone to be their health and safety representative

The following process may be helpful in choosing a representative:

  1. Arrange a time to meet with your workers as a group. 
  2. Review the role of a health and safety representative. 
  3. Ask your workers to pick someone who is not a manager or supervisor to fill this role. 
  4. The managers and supervisors should leave the room while the other workers make their choice. 
  5. If a leader does not emerge, the workers can each anonymously write their choice on a piece of paper, which would then get collected and counted. 
  6. If the chosen worker feels uncomfortable taking on this role, allow them to decline and ask the next person. 
  7. Ensure the new health and safety representative understands their role 

Respond when your representative comes to you with concerns

When you get a recommendation in writing from the health and safety representative, you must respond within 21 days. In your response, you may either accept the recommendation or give reasons for disagreeing with the recommendation. 

If it is not reasonably possible for you to give an adequate response within 21 days, you must give a reasonable explanation for the delay within the deadline. In your explanation, you must identify when a response will be provided. You then must provide the response as soon as it is available


© 2015 Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia & Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education