Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What to do - The Ministry of Labour is at the door.

Originally printed in the Guelph Business Venture Magazine September 2010
A visit from a Ministry of Labours Health and Safety Inspector can happen at any time and not only because of a workplace accident or complaint against the organization. Inspectors today are making proactive visits to educate employers and ensure safe workplaces for all workers in Ontario.

Inspectors are authorized to conduct workplace inspections and investigations to determine whether employers are in compliance with the provincial Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Should an inspector come knocking on your door:
  • Politely invite them in and ask if they would like a cup of coffee while they wait in a private area (do not panic);
  • Ask to see their credentials – Inspectors carry a badge which serves as their warrant to investigate your organization, an ID Badge with their picture on it and a business card;
  • Ask the inspector to state the purpose of the visit (employee complaint, targeted inspection, investigation, accident, etc.).
  • Contact your company Health & Safety Representative to respond to the situation;
  • A company the inspector, make detailed notes of their visit and photocopy any document they take away;
  • Should your organization receive an order from the ministry, it is essential that it is promptly complied with. Many charges arise because an organization fails to comply.
The best proactive measure to ensure a positive Ministry of Labour inspection is to ensure a good health and safety program is in place before the inspection takes place. Ensure you have a health and safety representative or committee, required postings are posted in the workplace, relevant health and safety policies are in place and that your organization has complied with all requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

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