06/11/2013 12:49 EDT | Updated 08/11/2013 05:12 EDT

Nova Scotia to change workplace regulations in bid to crack down on violators

HALIFAX - The Nova Scotia government is changing workplace safety regulations to try to cut down on accidents and stiffen penalties for employers that are repeat offenders.

Labour Minister Frank Corbett says new regulations should increase protection from falls on the job and improve safety for highway workers.

As of Wednesday, the province will require companies to show proof of fall-protection training if they're operating on a work site with a risk of falling from a height of more than three metres.

A spokeswoman for the government says there was some training required previously, but it was broad and not specific to fall protection.

Corbett says employers doing work on roads, public parking lots and highways must also have a hazard assessment and written safe-work procedure.

A 48-year-old man died in early May when he fell four storeys while working on an apartment complex.

Corbett says he is also working with the Public Prosecution Service to secure harsher penalties for employers with repeat offences and will dedicate a prosecutor to handle only occupational health and safety.

Rick Clarke, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, says he is pleased with the measures that also include more surprise job-site inspections.