Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
Written by David Reiter and Cynthia Sefton
(David and Cyhthia are partners with Aird and Berlis in Toronto.)
Safety blitz is in Ontario occur when the Ministry of Labour (MOL) attends a workplace unannounced to inspect the workplace for Occupational Health & Safety Act compliance.
Inspectors’ powers include: the ability to require that documents be produced, tests be conducted and that managers, supervisors and workers answer questions.
The MOL operates on a zero-tolerance basis on inspections and businesses can be shut down until problems are fixed. That is why it is so important to pass inspection in the first place.
Here are five steps employers should take to prepare:
- Appoint a competent person (CP) to take charge of inspections. This person should be familiar with the project’s or facility’s workers and with the training they have had and may need.
- The CP should look to the results of past inspections to get an idea of the areas that should be given particular attention. This information should be used to identify gaps and to develop any necessary practices, processes or training. As well, joint health and safety committee meeting minutes should be reviewed to identify repeat or outstanding issues.
- The CP should ensure that simple housekeeping points are addressed. For example, required material must be posted. Training, equipment maintenance and facility inspections should be performed when needed and easily retrievable records should be kept. Violence and harassment policy should be reviewed, updated and implemented with appropriate training.
- The CP should liaise with supervisors before the blitz and confirm that workers are following their training, and if there are any concerns or issues, that those are being communicated back to the CP for follow-up.
- The CP should be trained on how to deal with the MOL. He or she should know what records are available and where they are kept, as well as what processes workers are performing and where the related procedures are kept. With this information, the CP will be able to answer most questions that the MOL is likely to ask during a blitz.
By following these five steps, businesses can make a strong first impression with the MOL – both in form and in substance. In turn, this will inspire the MOL’s confidence in the company and its operations, which should result in a smooth and successful inspection.
Each sector will be completing blitzes in the new year. I have listed the topics and the sectors and the dates so that you, employers, have a heads up.
The ‘Construction’ sector will be focusing their inspections on personal protective equipment and of course standard compliance with ‘Construction Projects’ regulation 213/91 and the OHSA. The inspection dates are from February 3, 2020 to March 13, 2020.
The ‘Healthcare’ sector will be concentrating their inspections on Group Homes. The dates of the inspections will be from Feb. 03, 2020 to March 13, 2020.
The ‘Industrial’ sector will be focusing their efforts on Machine Guarding. There have been numerous Machine Guarding accidents over the past year or so. This area of concern was not a real surprise. The dates of the inspections will be from February 17, 2020 to March 31, 2020.
And finally, the ‘Mining and Mining Plants’ sector will be concentrating their efforts on Emergency Preparedness Self-Audit. The dates of inspections are from February 03, 2020 to March 27, 2020.
As a quick reminder, you must be well versed in the following sector regulations as well as the OHSA.
- Construction sector regulation 213/91,
- Healthcare sector regulation 67/93,
- Industrial sector regulation 951/90, and
- Mining sector regulation 854/90.
HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259. We are there to help you.
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.