Offshore oil and gas workers in Nova Scotia are now covered under one set of occupational health and safety rules.
Amendments to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act came into effect on Dec. 31. Among other changes, the amendments: add a new oh&s section to the act; clarify the roles and responsibilities of governments, regulators, employers and employees; and assign authority for oh&s officers to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board. Mirror amendments were adopted federally in the Offshore Health and Safety Act and in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Nova Scotia’s offshore is one of the fastest-growing sectors in Atlantic Canada and represents huge potential for our province,” said Nova Scotia Energy Minister Andrew Younger in a joint press release from the provincial Department of Energy and Department of Labour and Advanced Education. “These changes complement the work already underway to promote workplace safety in every industry across Nova Scotia, to ensure all workers, whether on land or sea, return home safely at the end of each day.”
The press release added that the amendments apply to all offshore petroleum activities in the province. They also “support an occupational health and safety culture that recognizes shared responsibilities in the workplace”; provide joint management of oh&s by federal and provincial governments; ensure that oh&s applies to workers in transit to, from or between offshore platforms; and add new provincial oversight to the Department of Labour and Advanced Education for offshore oh&s.
Tony Cornect, Minister of Service NL, said that the amendments were tailored to the offshore working environment and incorporated fundamental oh&s principles, including a worker’s right to refusal, right to know and reprisal protection for raising health and safety concerns.
Canada’s offshore petroleum production accounts for 25 per cent of light crude output, or six per cent of Canada’s annual total crude output, according to Natural Resources Canada.