Why Occupational Health and Safety is important for YOUR Dental Office

Why Occupational Health and Safety is important for YOUR Dental Office

All staff in the dental practice, not just dentists, share the goal of making the workplace safe and healthy, not only for the protection of your patients, but everyone in the clinic.

There is a lot of information when it comes to The Occupational Health and Safety Act and it can seem overwhelming.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulation, and Code have set out the legal requirements that employers and workers must meet to protect the health and safety of workers.

Here are 8 tips that will help make your practice compliant:

1) Having an Up-to-Date OHS Manual: These manuals must-have office specific policies, procedures, and be compliant with federal, provincial, and municipal regulations.

2) Emergency Response Plans (ERP): An ERP identifies the people, resources, and procedures needed to deal with emergencies such as fires, power loss, floods, bomb threats, unauthorized intruders, etc.

3) Workplace Injury Program: Should an employee become injured at work or become sick due to an occupational hazard, a return-to-work program should be in place to help the employee recover and return to work safely.

4) COVID Safety Plans: Your safety plan should include exposure-response plans, contact tracing, employee/patient notification procedures, development of contingency plans, elimination of exposures, and development of cleaning, sanitation & disinfection plans.

5) OHS Complaint Reporting: Documentation is vital to your OHS program. Ensure that you have compliant and thorough forms ready in case you ever need to submit this information to your labour board, provincial OHS authority, or for an internal investigation.

6) Health & Safety Officer: A practice needs a dedicated health and safety officer to ensure enforcement & continuous compliance. If your practice has more than 20 employees, a Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee is required.

7) Conduct Risk Assessments: Dental workers may be exposed to a variety of workplace hazards. A key component of a health and safety program is to identify and assess hazards and determine appropriate controls.

8) Health & Safety Training: Section 3(2) of the OHS Act states an employer must ensure a worker is adequately trained in all matters necessary to protect their health and safety. Working alone protocols and workplace violence trainings are now mandatory within the workplace. Health and Safety Officers and Joint Health and Safety Committees need additional training on their specific responsibilities and the hazards experienced by their workers. For example, in Alberta officers and/or committees require a mandatory 16 hours of training from an approved training provider.

Dentists are required to comply with the safety laws to effectively operate their business in the province.

Does your dental practice have what it needs to pass an Occupational Health and Safety inspection?

Not sure? A good starting point is to contact our team and we can walk through what is needed to see if you are compliant. We help your practice meet employment standards and create a compliant, safe, and healthy (& happy) workplace.