This article is part of a series identifying common OHS risks, challenges, and compliance regulations in each province. Read on to find out the main issues Quebec employers should be aware of.
Are you a Quebec employer wondering about your occupational health and safety (OHS) obligations? OHS regulations vary between provinces, so Quebec employers must familiarize themselves with Quebec’s major OHS governing body and its requirements.
Quebec employers face unique OHS risks and challenges based on the province’s dominant sectors and job roles, common workplace hazards, and injury statistics. Employers who understand the challenges relevant to their industry and workplace can take steps to reduce the incidence of injuries and fatalities and create a healthier, safer workplace.
Top economic sectors in Quebec
The manufacturing and service sectors dominate Quebec’s economy. Quebec’s top three sectors by employment are retail trade, manufacturing, and healthcare and social assistance, with 42 percent of provincial employment combined. Manufacturing, real estate and rental leasing, and healthcare and social assistance were the highest contributors to Quebec’s GDP in 2022, representing 32 percent together.
The largest industries by revenue in 2022 were new car dealers, commercial banking, and gasoline and petroleum bulk stations. Other notable sectors include tourism, renewable energy, information technology, forestry, and agriculture.
Quebec also has significant mining potential and was the second-highest mineral-producing province by value nationwide in 2021. Around 30 minerals are mined in Quebec, including iron, gold, nickel, titanium, niobium, zinc, copper, silver, and stone.
Regulatory bodies in Quebec
The Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) is the point of contact for work-related services in Quebec. The CNESST is responsible for administering the Act Respecting Occupational Health and Safety (AROH), designed to eliminate workplace health and safety hazards.
CNESST shares information on labour standards, pay equity, and occupational health and safety. Companies with at least one full-time or part-time worker must register with CNESST. Through CNESST, employers can understand their responsibilities and obligations towards their workers.
- Understanding the steps to take in case of a workplace accident or illness
- Hazard identification and prevention
- Workplace health and safety training
- First aid in the workplace
Health and safety risks and challenges for Quebec employers
The 2022 University of Regina report on workplace fatalities and injuries showed that Quebec had almost 80,000 injuries in 2020, more than any other province. Similarly, the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) statistics consistently show Quebec has more accepted lost-time claims than any other jurisdiction. These statistics highlight the need for robust workplace health and safety policies and procedures in Quebec.
Traumatic injuries to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints are the most frequent nature of injury in Quebec and other provinces.
In Quebec, common injury sources based on accepted lost-time claims included:
- Non-pressurized containers
- Furniture, cases, cabinets, racks, and shelves
- Material handling, metal, woodworking, and special material machinery
- Building materials
- Fasteners, connectors, ropes, and ties
- Machine, tool, and electric parts
- Vehicle and mobile equipment parts
- Floors, walkways, and ground surfaces
- Hand tools, especially non-powered
- Atmospheric and environmental conditions
2019-2021 data shows the most common events causing lost time claim injuries in Quebec are:
- Being struck against or by an object
- Becoming caught in or compressed by equipment or objects
- Falls to a lower level
- Falls on the same level
- Bodily reaction
- Exposure to caustic, poisonous, or allergenic substances
- Noise exposure
- Assaults and violent acts
Overexertion is one of the leading causes of lost time injury claims, yet it is largely avoidable. By understanding the predominant causes of workplace injury, employers can take steps to apply this knowledge to their workplace health and safety plan.[Read about the common OHS risks and challenges in British Colombia, Alberta, the Territories, and Ontario].
Types of occupational tests for Quebec employers to consider
Quebec employers must consider the occupational health and safety tests most relevant to their industry and workers. Occupational testing is vital in improving workplace health and safety and protecting workers.
Given that manufacturing is one of Quebec’s dominant sectors, employers in this industry can invest in testing services related to the problems manufacturing workers and employers commonly face.
Manufacturing workers are often in very safety-sensitive roles if working with large or dangerous machinery. Lost-time claim injuries also show machinery as a common injury source. Therefore, drug and alcohol testing and reasonable suspicion training are essential to ensure employees are not impaired by drugs or alcohol, a vital component to operating machinery safely.
Noise exposure is one of Quebec’s most common causes of lose-time injury claims. Some manufacturing workers are exposed to high noise levels, as are workers in other significant sectors in Quebec, such as forestry, agriculture, and mining.
In Quebec workplaces with high noise levels, employers can invest in audiometric testing. Baseline tests help identify initial hearing concerns, and periodic testing measures hearing changes or deterioration over time. Employers can select mobile testing for convenience and time efficiency.
Retail trade and the service sector, in general, are predominant in Quebec. Employees in these job roles often deal with sensitive information. Additionally, the risk of employee theft is high in the retail sector. Therefore, background and criminal record checks may be imperative.
Quebec employers can choose Fitness to Work Testing for any workers in a physical job or those carrying out repetitive tasks. This type of testing helps identify any pre-existing issues and helps determine whether the worker is a good fit for the role.
You May Also Be Interested In…
- Occupational Testing Use Case – MiningIn this case study, we will explore how mining companies can use various types of occupational tests to reduce Total Recordable Incident Rates (TRIR) long term.
- 9 Strategies to Keep Workers Cool on Drilling Sites During Hot Summer MonthsThis article delves into strategies to keep workers cool and safe on drilling sites during the hot summer months.
- Hearing Conservation Basics: How to Manage Occupational NoiseLearn how to proactively mitigate occupational noise risks and help prevent NIHL among workers.
- Occupational Testing Use Case – ManufacturingExplore how manufacturing companies can use various types of occupational testing to assess job applicants, including statistics that show how that can reduce your Total Recordable Incident Rate over the long term.
- How to Improve Workplace Safety Communication: Seven Strategies for SuccessThis article explores seven practical strategies to improve workplace safety communication. From regular training sessions to utilizing various communication channels, these approaches will enhance the effectiveness of safety messages and ensure they reach and resonate with every employee.
- Falls, Slips, and Trips Prevention TipsFalls, slips, and trips have negative repercussions in the workplace. They adversely impact employee health and well-being, reduce productivity, and impact the company’s bottom line. Therefore, a proactive approach toward preventing falls, slips, and trips is crucial.