Regular planned workplace inspections help to identify hazards and prevent accidents. The following outline has been developed as a generic reference tool to assist joint health & safety committees in conducting workplace inspections. Contact your Human Resources Health & Safety Consultant to determine if division specific protocol or terms of reference exist.
Planned inspections of the workplace must be carried out monthly. Where it is not practical to inspect the entire workplace monthly, the physical condition of the workplace can be inspected on a yearly basis, with at least a part of the workplace being inspected monthly. (Occupational Health & Safety Act R.S.O. 1990, c.0.1, s 9 (26, 27). The schedule, and scope of the workplace inspection should be determined by each individual JHSC.
The members of the JHSC who represent workers shall designate members representing workers to inspect the physical condition of the workplace OHS Act R.S.O. 1990, c.0.1, s 9 (23) Where and when possible, a management representative (committee member or supervisor) should accompany the worker member.
To be effective, inspections should be planned and laid out in advance. Effective planning for an inspection will include reviewing available information and assembling inspection tools. Prior to commencing, ensure that arrangements have been made for access to the work area and that all necessary personal protective equipment is available.
The object of the inspection is to conduct a systematic examination of any thing or procedure that might pose a hazard to the health or safety of any person in the workplace. Inspections should also include a follow-up review of recently installed controls to see if they are working appropriately, as well as verification of compliance with a Ministry of Labour inspector’s order.
Although inspections are meant to focus on the workers regularly employed in the work area, it is also important to be aware of others who move in and out of the area to conduct maintenance, make deliveries or perform other tasks.
a supervisor of a workplace or work area is available but not present during the inspection, s/he should be notified of problems/deficiencies prior to the designated member leaving the site, or as soon as reasonably practicable (within 72 hours).
All health and safety concerns raised during the physical inspection should be recorded on an appropriate JHSC-approved workplace inspection report and signed by the member(s) performing the inspection. A generic Workplace Inspection Report is available on the Intranet and can be modified to meet specific needs of the workplace.
A copy of the inspection report must be provided to the appropriate management staff responsible for corrective action. In addition, the inspection report should be distributed to the JHSC, the Human Resources Health & Safety Consultant, and posted on the Worksite Safety Notice Board.
The management representative to whom the form was forwarded should inform the JHSC co-chairpersons of the status of all items by the next meeting. Each committee should develop a process for following-up on the status of inspection items. Outstanding items from workplace inspection forms should be standing items at JHSC meetings.
Unresolved issues should be addressed through written recommendations prepared by a joint health and safety committee and provided to appropriate management staff (OHS Act R.S.O. 1990, c.0.1, s 9 (18c). Management must respond to recommendations within 21 days (OHS Act R.S.O. 1990, c.0.1, s 9 (20). A written response must include a timetable for implementing recommendations or reasons for any disagreement on recommendations.
Unresolved recommendations should be submitted to the senior manager of the committee’s service area, human resources health & safety staff and the divisional health & safety committee where one exists.
Recommendations that remain unresolved because management responses are unacceptable or not timely, can be submitted to the Occupational Health & Safety Co-ordinating Committee and will follow the Workplace Inspection Report.
It is important to note that this process has been established to enable the City and its employees to address health & safety issues internally. It does not prevent City employees from contacting, and requesting the intervention of the Ministry of Labour, if they feel that their health and safety is endangered.
The worker co-chairperson or certified worker member or their designate are entitled to accompany a Ministry of Labour Inspector during a Ministry inspection of the workplace. Ministry orders must be posted and copies given to the JHSC and union.
On construction projects in which the City is the constructor and the project is of sufficient duration, inspections should be conducted by City joint health and safety committees. On project sites where the contractor is the constructor, City joint health and safety committees should not conduct workplace inspections. In this case, workplace inspections are the contractor’s responsibility.
Summary of the recommended process for JHSC Workplace Inspections
Note: Contact your Health & Safety Consultant to determine if division specific protocol or terms of reference exist.
Occupational Health & Safety Co-ordinating Committee (OHSCC), April 23, 2002
Reviewed by OHSCC: April 26, 2016
April 23, 2002
April 26, 2016