Inspections & Investigations

Inspections & InvestigationsWhat are inspections and investigations?

A workplace inspection is the act of examining, first-hand, a work location for evidence of unsafe or unhealthy conditions.

An investigation usually refers to seeking out the facts about an injury, illness, or fatality after it has occurred. It can also refer to investigating incidents that could have caused injury, illness or death (e.g., structural collapse). The purpose is to determine the causes and to prevent injuries and illnesses in the future.

What the law says

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) defines the responsibilities for regular workplace inspections according to the person's role in the workplace

  • Health and Safety Representatives: Section 8, subsections 6-10, 14
  • Members of Joint Health and Safety Committees: Section 9, subsections 23-29

The OHSA also sets out the specific requirements for investigating workplace incidents.

Employers are responsible for ensuring a safe workplace. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that employees work safely and for advising them of workplace dangers. Regulations may specify further requirements. For example, the Construction Regulation (Section 14) requires supervisors (or competent persons that they appoint) to perform inspections of certain parts of the workplace at least weekly. The Regulations for Mines and Mining Plants require examination of hoisting plants (Section 248) as often as every day.

How inspections and investigations can help your business

Injuries and illnesses are costly to employers and employees alike. For employers, there are not only direct costs (such as Ministry of Labour fines or WSIB surcharges), but also indirect costs such as paying substitute workers and loss of production. Some businesses will go bankrupt after an injury. Don't let that happen to you.

If you do have an incident, you need to make sure it never happens again.

Workplace inspections are one of your main ways of knowing the facts so you can prevent incidents from threatening the safety of your workers and your business.

Incident investigation is a way to learn about the circumstances or procedures that lead to an undesirable outcome so it never happens again. Look at it as an opportunity to patch up the holes in your company's safety procedures so that your workers and your company are no longer vulnerable.

What can you do?

Inspections

  • Know your legal responsibilities. Get trained on performing inspections.
  • Prepare a checklist based on workplace-specific equipment, materials and procedures. Refer to a site plan to identify areas requiring attention.
  • Identify the types of work being done and any potentially hazardous conditions.
  • Use your checklist to inspect for the hazards you identified beforehand. Talk to workers about dangers or problems they have seen.
  • Correct any hazardous conditions.
  • Document your findings and solutions.

Investigations

  • Know your legal responsibilities concerning incident investigation and reporting.
  • Get training in investigation and first aid.
  • Ensure that you have emergency phone numbers (ambulance, fire, police) at hand.
  • Be prepared with the things you’ll need for an investigation. Examples include a tape measure, a flashlight and a camera with flash.
  • If an incident happens,
    • respond to the emergency by eliminating or controlling remaining dangers, providing first aid, calling an ambulance, informing management, and reporting the incident to the Ministry of Labour as required.
    • Secure the scene and identify witnesses.
    • Survey the scene, gather evidence and take photographs.
    • Take steps to prevent a similar incident from happening in the future.

Consulting Services

General Consulting Services

General Consulting Services

Integrating health and safety into your workplace is good business.  WSPS’ consultants employ a results-based approach to health, safety and environment, focused on building self-reliance,  and enabling your organization to implement, manage and continually improve your health and safety programs.

Training

Investigating Accidents and Incidents (1/2 day)

Investigating Accidents and Incidents (1/2 day)

This program blends accident investigation theory with hands on practice.
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$149.00

Inspecting Your Workplace (1/2 day)

Inspecting Your Workplace (1/2 day)

This 1/2 day, instructor-led course equips you with the necessary skills for regular, planned inspections.
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$149.00

Hazardous Occurrence Investigations (Federal) - English (1/2 Day)

Hazardous Occurrence Investigations (Federal) - English (1/2 Day)

NEW! This half-day course equips federally regulated workplaces with the essential knowledge, skills and tools to conduct hazardous occurrence investigations and prevent costly recurrences.
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$209.00

Hazardous Occurrence Investigations (Federal) - French (1/2 Day)

Hazardous Occurrence Investigations (Federal) - French (1/2 Day)

NEW! This half-day course equips federally regulated workplaces with the essential knowledge, skills and tools to conduct hazardous occurrence investigations and prevent costly recurrences.
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Call for pricing

Inspecting Your Workplace (Federal) - English (1/2 day)

Inspecting Your Workplace (Federal) - English (1/2 day)

NEW! This solution is designed to provide federally regulated workplaces with the knowledge, skills and tools to complete effective inspections.
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$209.00

Inspecting Your Workplace (Federal) - French (1/2 day)

Inspecting Your Workplace (Federal) - French (1/2 day)

NEW! This solution is designed to provide federally regulated workplaces with the knowledge, skills and tools to complete effective inspections.
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Call for pricing

Federal Policy, Work Place Committees and Representatives (2 days)

Federal Policy, Work Place Committees and Representatives (2 days)

NEW! Cost-effective 2-day training session for federal workplace health and safety committees.
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$519.00

The Effective Investigator: A Practical Case Study (1/2 day)

The Effective Investigator: A Practical Case Study (1/2 day)

NEW! Hone your skills through participation in a mock accident investigation.
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$180.00

E-Courses

(ON) Contractor Health and Safety in Ontario (1 hour)

(ON) Contractor Health and Safety in Ontario (1 hour)

Owners, employers and contractors must each be clear about their health and safety responsibilities.
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$64.00

Accident Investigation (English) (1 hour)

Accident Investigation (English) (1 hour)

Practical approach to investigating workplace accidents, with emphasis on how to find root cause.
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$49.00

Accident Investigation (French) (1 hour)

Accident Investigation (French) (1 hour)

Reduce liabilities and increase organizational compliance through high performance H&S leadership.
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$49.00

Workplace Inspections (English) (1 hour)

Workplace Inspections (English) (1 hour)

This course will teach you how to effectively prepare, conduct and document workplace inspections.
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$49.00

Workplace Inspections (French) (1 hour)

Workplace Inspections (French) (1 hour)

This course will teach you how to effective prepare, conduct and document workplace inspections.
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$49.00

Reference Products

Inspecting Physical Conditions, Guidelines for Setting Standards (8th Edition)

Inspecting Physical Conditions, Guidelines for Setting Standards (8th Edition)

A comprehensive, print-based resource that identifies applicable laws and standards and provides detailed guidelines relating to over 30 workplace hazards and 20 controls.
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$119.00

Downloads

Workplace Inspection Recording Form

Workplace Inspection Recording Form

Joint health and safety committee members can use this form to help classify hazards during workplace inspections.  Revised August 2012.
243 KB pdf
Investigation Report (Form)

Investigation Report (Form)

Use this form to identify incident information, cause analysis, controls, costs and action plans.
412 KB pdf
Investigation Report Form (Instructions)

Investigation Report Form (Instructions)

These instructions will guide you in the use of the "Investigation Report Form" that helps to identify incident information, cause analysis, controls, costs and action plans.
186 KB pdf
How to Conduct Workplace Inspections

How to Conduct Workplace Inspections

Use this guideline to help your company develop procedures for effective workplace inspections.
412 KB pdf
Physical Demands Analysis (Instruction)

Physical Demands Analysis (Instruction)

This is an instruction to help you with completing the "Physical Demands Analysis (Fillable Form)".

733 KB pdf
Physical Demands Analysis (Fillable Form)

Physical Demands Analysis (Fillable Form)

A physical demands analysis (PDA) is a systematic procedure to quantify and evaluate the physical, cognitive, and environmental demands of the essential and non-essential tasks of a job.

See "Physical Demands Analysis Instruction" for assistance to complete this form.

731 KB pdf
Injury Analysis Report Form - Instructions to Complete

Injury Analysis Report Form - Instructions to Complete

Use these instructions to help complete the "Injury Analysis Report Form".
370 KB pdf
Injury Analysis Report Form

Injury Analysis Report Form

Use of this form will help you document workplace injuries to determine whether there are gaps in your health and safety policy and program.  See "Injury Analysis Report Form - Instructions to Complete" to help you complete this form.
428 KB pdf

Articles

7 ways to jump-start your machine safety inspections

7 ways to jump-start your machine safety inspections

When WSPS machine safety specialist Michael Wilson visits workplaces, he often comes across joint health and safety committee members reviewing machine guarding as part of their regular inspections. "That's a good thing," says Wilson, "but what's common can quickly become routine." This is one reason why, despite workplaces' best intentions, contact with machinery remains a top hazard in Ontario workplaces.

May 05, 2016
6 steps and 4 suggestions to prepare for January's machine safety blitz and beyond

6 steps and 4 suggestions to prepare for January's machine safety blitz and beyond

Prepare now for a January 18 to February 26, 2016 inspection blitz on the safe operation of machinery. The blitz will focus on machines that are not guarded, blocked or locked out during maintenance, repair and other operations. "If it were my workplace," says WSPS consultant Robert Vomiero, "I'd immediately take steps to control high-risk hazards, and then plot an ongoing hazard control strategy."

Dec 07, 2015
Turn young, new worker blitz results into a 6-point prevention strategy

Turn young, new worker blitz results into a 6-point prevention strategy

Starting May 1, Ministry of Labour inspectors will be conducting a four-month enforcement blitz focusing on young workers aged 14 to 24 years, and new or reassigned workers on the job for less than six months. These workers are three times more likely to be injured during their first month on the job than at any other time, so convert this annual enforcement rite of spring into a customized injury prevention strategy.

Apr 08, 2015
Employer's investigation was a reprisal, adjudicator rules

Employer's investigation was a reprisal, adjudicator rules

An internal investigation conducted after an employee appealed a right to refuse decision has been deemed a reprisal by an arbitrator.

Such reprisals violate provincial occupational health and safety acts and the Canada Labour Code. They also risk disengaging employees and undermining productivity. The result can be chaos for workplaces following just-in-time production schedules, says Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) consultant Gordon Leffley.

Jul 31, 2013