A thorough inspection includes everything from daily equipment startup to regular supervisor inspections. Ontario began inspection blitzes April 1, certainly a compelling reason for companies to be prepared.
A visit from the Ministry of Labour can be daunting. Remember that the MOL inspector can enter your workplace unannounced, at any time. Inspectors’ powers include being permitted to speak to anyone in the workplace, look at training documents, equipment maintenance and make copies, as well as look at any equipment or machinery.
Often companies are selected based on incidents and compliance history while others, such as new businesses, workplaces with new and young workers and the severity of on-site hazards are randomly chosen.
Planning an InspectionThe best way of planning for an inspection is preparation. The workplace should be inspected by the joint health and safety committee, or health and safety representative at least monthly. Workplace inspections are key to identifying hazards; thereby, preventing workplace accidents.
Components of an Inspection
It is imperative that all legislatively required documents are accessible to all employees, e.g. copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and regulations. The company safety board must have all required posters, as well as the company’s signed and dated safety policy.
Inspectors will check to see if corrective items, identified at the last inspection, have been addressed as soon after the inspection as reasonably possible. They will also check to see that records are up to date. Training records prove that workers have received job-appropriate training, including orientation and certification.
Inspections ensure that the worksite has been assessed to identify possible hazards, that controls have been applied and safe operating procedures have been established. Accident investigation, injury and incident reporting, including near misses, must be documented, as well as training and first aid records.
Visual inspections determine good housekeeping, proper signage, e.g. wet floors, PPE required and used, proper storage, material handling and storage, safety data sheets, machine safety, lack of guarding, and equipment damage. An inspector must be able to see that faulty equipment has been tagged and removed from use.
Preparing for workplace inspections keeps you on top of issues that can endanger workers and the company’s reputation, and ensures that your site is meeting the minimum safety requirements that inspections are designed for. When an inspector arrives unannounced you’ll be prepared and able to take them through your facility without being fearful of them finding anything wrong.