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.

Downloads

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
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
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
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
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
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
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

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.

WSPS Safety Group

WSPS Safety Group

WSPS is the largest Safety Group provider and one of the longest running sponsors in the province. With our extensive experience and proven track record, by working with us and other member firms participating firms can achieve better results, and qualify for WSIB rebates.

Training

Federal Policy, Work Place Committees and Representatives - English (2 Days)

Federal Policy, Work Place Committees and Representatives - English (2 Days)

Cost-effective 2-day training session for federal work place health and safety committees.

View Details 
$519.00

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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$209.00

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

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

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

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

View Details 
$209.00

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

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

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

View Details 
$209.00

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

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.
View Details 
$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.
View Details 
$49.00

Accident Investigation (French) (1 hour)

Accident Investigation (French) (1 hour)

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

Reference Products

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

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

NOTE: Effective December 15, 2017, this publication will no longer be available.
Watch for a new 9th Edition coming in the Spring of 2018. 
 A comprehensive, print-based resource that identifies applicable laws and standards and provides detailed guidelines relating to over 30 workplace hazards and 20 controls.
View Details 
$119.00

Articles

Incident investigation: the ultimate due diligence

Incident investigation: the ultimate due diligence

"A robust incident reporting and investigation process supported by a culture committed to continual improvement is the ultimate due diligence," says WSPS' Andrew Harkness. It's a cornerstone of injury and loss prevention.
Oct 12, 2017
New and young worker blitz: insights and advice from an inspection veteran

New and young worker blitz: insights and advice from an inspection veteran

The Ministry of Labour's Joe O'Grady has critical advice for employers of new and young workers: "supervise, supervise, supervise!" Follow this advice and you can prevent injuries and save lives, says O’'Grady; these new and young workers are three times more likely to be injured during the first month on the job than at any other time.
Jul 12, 2017
Improve your racking inspections with a new CSA guideline

Improve your racking inspections with a new CSA guideline

High profile fatalities and injuries involving collapsed racks due to damage happen all too often in Ontario. That's why a critical eye on racks is essential.
Jun 13, 2017
MOL Blitz: firsthand advice for keeping new and young workers safe

MOL Blitz: firsthand advice for keeping new and young workers safe

Luis Hernandez felt fortunate to land a job as a maintenance worker at a fast-service restaurant just three weeks after arriving in Canada. And while he acknowledges that his first employer did a lot of things right to keep him safe, more could have been done. But because Luis was new to the country he didn't feel it was his place to offer suggestions.

May 15, 2017

"The Effective Investigator" - Hands-on accident training to help keep your company safe

"Many workplace accident investigations miss critical information, says Alain Langlais, WSPS Director, Eastern Region. Even experienced investigators can be fazed by the chaos and pressure of an accident scene. "It's easy to flounder and lose track of priorities. But if you don't get it right, you lose evidence and you may never find out what happened."

Jan 17, 2017
12 questions to help you prepare for this fall’s chemical handling blitz

12 questions to help you prepare for this fall’s chemical handling blitz

From September 19 to October 31, Ministry of Labour inspectors will fan out across the province, visiting workplaces to check records, observe, and ask questions about their chemical handling practices.

Jul 29, 2016
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