Workplace Inspection and Investigation

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Workplace inspection is an essential health and safety prevention tool; it gives the opportunity to identify hazards and to follow up on corrective actions to previously identified harzards. Should an accident in the workplace occur employers need to learn from these events to prevent any re-occurences. The investigation of an accident aids us to identify its root causes as well as the best hazard controls that should be put into place so that such an accident never happens again.

The Inspection and Investigation Programs are health and safety core programs that must be implemented in all workplaces prescribed by the legislation.

The Occupational Health and Safety regulations set out the general requirements for workplace inspections and investigations as well as specific requirements for the inspection of the personal protective equipment, machinery, equipment, tools, or other devices used in the workplace.

This document contains information about the general regulatory requirements for inspection and investigation. Equipment/device-specific regulatory requirements are part of the equipment/work process-specific documents.

Employer’s duties - Inspections

An employer must:

  • Have in place a schedule for regular inspection of the workplace, work processes and procedures, and ensure that the inspections are recorded in writing; and
  • Have in place a strategy for worker participation in audit inspections;
  • Establish, in consultation with the committee or representative, an inspection schedule and enable the members of the committee or a representative to inspect the workplace at the intervals of time agreed upon;
  • Take immediate measures to protect the workers when informed about unsafe conditions or contraventions to the regulations; rectify the unsafe conditions or contraventions as soon as possible; and
  • Inform, in writing, the committee or the representative of the measures taken or that will be taken, or, in the case of no action taken, of the reason why;
  • Allow workers (without them losing time, pay or other benefits) to participate, by representation in inspections conducted by a health and safety officer;
  • Permit any worker or group of workers to consult with an officer during an inspection.

Employer’s duties – Investigations

The regulations explicitly require the investigation of certain accidents. An employer must, as soon as reasonably possible, investigate: , , and

  • Every accident that causes or may cause the death of a worker,
  • Every accident that requires hospitalization of a worker for a period of 24 hours or more, and
  • Every dangerous occurrence. and

However, a diligent employer should investigate all incidents, regardless of their severity or outcome, in order to determine what went wrong and eliminate the risk of re-occurrence.

The accidents and dangerous occurrences must be investigated by the employer in consultation with the co-chairs of the committee or their designates, or the representative if existent. and

The employer must allow workers to participate, by representation, in investigations conducted by a health and safety officer.

An employer must make sure that no person interferes with the scene of the accident that resulted in the death of a person until an officer completes the investigation, unless the interference with the scene is needed to save a life, relieve human suffering, or is authorized by an officer or other statute.

The investigation of an accident that causes death or an injury requiring hospitalization, and the investigation of a dangerous occurrence, must be documented by a report in writing that includes:
, , and

  • a description of the accident or dangerous occurrence;
  • any graphics, photographs or other evidence that may assist in determining the cause or causes of the accident or dangerous occurrence;
  • an explanation of the cause or causes of the accident or dangerous occurrence;
  • the immediate corrective action taken; and
  • any long-term action that will be taken to prevent the occurrence of a similar accident or dangerous occurrence or the reasons for not taking action.

Worker’s duties

A worker must:

  • Inspect the workplace, the equipment, machines, devices and personal protective equipment as required by the employer’s health and safety management system and manufacturer’s recommendations; and
  • Participate in identification of unsafe conditions and practices and report them to the employer and/or committee or representative; and
  • Cooperate in investigations as required.

Duties of Occupational Health and Safety Committee and Representative

The OHC must:

  • investigate any matter related to refusal to work;

The co-chairpersons or representative must:

  • Investigate as soon as is reasonably possible the death of every worker, every accident that causes or may cause 24-hour in-patient admission of a worker to a hospital and every dangerous occurrence;

SASKATCHEWAN EMPLOYMENT ACT
S.S. 2013, c. S-15.1

Part III OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY

Section 3-10 General duties of workers

3-10. Every worker while at work shall:

(a) take reasonable care to protect his or her health and safety and the health and safety of other workers who may be affected by his or her acts or omissions;

(b) refrain from causing or participating in the harassment of another worker;

(c) cooperate with any other person exercising a duty imposed by this Part or the regulations made pursuant to this Part; and

(d) comply with this Part and the regulations made pursuant to this Part.

Section 3-31 Right to refuse dangerous work

3-31. A worker may refuse to perform any particular act or series of acts at a place of employment if the worker has reasonable grounds to believe that the act or series of acts is unusually dangerous to the worker’s health or safety or the health or safety of any other person at the place of employment until:

(a) sufficient steps have been taken to satisfy the worker otherwise; or

(b) the occupational health committee has investigated the matter and advised the worker otherwise.

Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996
S.S., c. O-1.1, Reg 1

Part III General Duties

Section 13 General duties of workers

13. A worker shall:

(a) use the safeguards, safety appliances and personal protective equipment provided in accordance with these regulations and any other regulations made pursuant to the Act; and

(b) follow the safe work practices and procedures required by or developed pursuant to these regulations and any other regulations made pursuant to the Act.

Section 20 Workers' contacts with officers

20. (1) During an inspection or investigation by an officer at a place of employment, an employer shall allow one of the following to accompany the officer:

(a) the worker co-chairperson or, in the co-chairperson's absence, any other worker that the committee may designate to represent workers;

(b) where there is no committee, a worker designated by the trade union representing workers;

(c) where there is no trade union representing workers, a worker designated by an officer;

(d) the representative.

(2) An employer shall permit any worker or group of workers to consult with an officer during an inspection or investigation at a place of employment.

(3) An employer shall ensure that any time in which a worker consults with an officer, assists an officer or accompanies an officer during an inspection or investigation is considered as time at work and that the worker loses no pay or other benefits.

Section 22 Occupational health and safety program

22. (1) Subject to subsection (2), an occupational health and safety program required bysection 13 of the Act must include:

(a) a statement of the employer's policy with respect to the protection and maintenance of the health and safety of the workers;

(b) the identification of existing and potential risks to the health or safety of workers at the place of employment and the measures, including procedures to respond to an emergency, that will be taken to reduce, eliminate or control those risks;

(c) the identification of internal and external resources, including personnel and equipment, that may be required to respond to an emergency;

(d) a statement of the responsibilities of the employer, the supervisors and the workers;

(e) a schedule for the regular inspection of the place of employment and of work processes and procedures;

(f) a plan for the control of any biological or chemical substance handled, used, stored, produced or disposed of at the place of employment and, where appropriate, the monitoring of the work environment;

(g) a plan for training workers and supervisors in safe work practices and procedures, including any procedures, plans, policies or programs that the employer is required to develop pursuant to the Act or any regulations made pursuant to the Act that apply to the work of the workers and supervisors;

(h) a procedure for the investigation of accidents, dangerous occurrences and refusals to work pursuant to section 23 of the Act at the place of employment;

(i) a strategy for worker participation in occupational health and safety activities, including audit inspections and investigations of accidents, dangerous occurrences and refusals to work pursuant tosection 23 of the Act ; and

(j) a procedure to review and, where necessary, revise the occupational health and safety program at specified intervals that are not greater than three years and whenever there is a change of circumstances that may affect the health or safety of workers.

(2) On and after January 1, 1998, the places of employment set out in Table 7 of the Appendix with 10 or more workers are prescribed for the purposes ofsection 13 of the Act .

(3) An employer at a place of employment mentioned in subsection (2) shall establish an occupational health and safety program that meets the requirements of subsection (1) not later than:

(a) in a place of employment with 100 or more workers, January 1, 1998;

(b) in a place of employment with 21 or more workers but not more than 99 workers, January 1, 1999; and

(c) in a place of employment with 10 or more workers but not more than 20 workers, January 1, 2000.

Section 28 Inspection of place of employment

28. (1) An employer, contractor or owner shall enable members of a committee or a representative to inspect a place of employment at reasonable intervals determined by the committee or the representative and employer.

(2) On written notice by the committee or the representative of an unsafe condition or a contravention of the Act or any regulations made pursuant to the Act, the employer, contractor or owner shall:

(a) take immediate steps to protect the health and safety of any worker who may be at risk until the unsafe condition is corrected or the contravention is remedied;

(b) as soon as possible, take suitable actions to correct the unsafe condition or remedy the contravention; and

(c) inform the committee or the representative in writing of:

(i) the actions that the employer, contractor or owner has taken or will take pursuant to clause (b); or

(ii) if the employer, contractor or owner has not taken any actions pursuant to clause (b), the employer's, contractor's or owner's reasons for not taking action.

Section 29 Investigation of certain accidents

29. (1) Subject to section 30, an employer shall ensure that every accident that causes or may cause the death of a worker or that requires a worker to be admitted to a hospital as an in-patient for a period of 24 hours or more is investigated as soon as is reasonably possible by:

(a) the co-chairpersons or their designates;

(b) the employer and the representative; or

(c) where there is no committee or representative, the employer.

(2) After the investigation of an accident, an employer, in consultation with the co-chairpersons or their designates, or with the representative, shall prepare a written report that includes:

(a) a description of the accident;

(b) any graphics, photographs or other evidence that may assist in determining the cause or causes of the accident;

(c) an explanation of the cause or causes of the accident;

(d) the immediate corrective action taken; and

(e) any long-term action that will be taken to prevent the occurrence of a similar accident or the reasons for not taking action.

Section 30 Prohibition re scene of accident

30. (1) Unless expressly authorized by statute or by subsection (2), no person shall, except for the purpose of saving life or relieving human suffering, interfere with, destroy, carry away or alter the position of any wreckage, article, document or thing at the scene of or connected with an accident causing a death until an officer has completed an investigation of the circumstances surrounding the accident.

(2) Where an accident causing a death occurs and an officer is not able to complete an investigation of the circumstances surrounding the accident, an officer may, unless prohibited by statute, grant permission to move the wreckage, articles and things at the scene or connected with the accident to any extent that may be necessary to allow the work to proceed, if:

(a) graphics, photographs or other evidence showing details at the scene of the accident are made before the officer grants permission; and

(b) the co-chairpersons of a committee or the representative for the place of employment at which the accident occurred or their designates have inspected the site of the accident and agreed that the wreckage, article or thing may be moved.

Section 31 Investigation of dangerous occurrences

31. (1) An employer, contractor or owner shall ensure that every dangerous occurrence described in subsection 9(1) is investigated as soon as is reasonably possible by:

(a) the co-chairpersons or their designates;

(b) the employer, contractor or owner and the representative; or

(c) where there is no committee or representative, the employer, contractor or owner.

(2) After the investigation of a dangerous occurrence, an employer, contractor or owner, in consultation with the co-chairpersons or their designates or with the representative, shall prepare a written report that includes:

(a) a description of the dangerous occurrence;

(b) any graphics, photographs or other evidence that may assist in determining the cause or causes of the dangerous occurrence;

(c) an explanation of the cause or causes of the dangerous occurrence;

(d) the immediate corrective action taken; and

(e) any long-term action that will be taken to prevent the occurrence of a similar dangerous occurrence or the reasons for not taking action.

Part XXXIII Repeal, Transitional and Coming into Force

Schedule Table 7 Prescribed Places of Employment

[Subsections 22(2) and 45(1)]

1. Types of places of employment:

(a) hospitals, nursing homes and home care;

(b) metal foundries and mills; and

(c) mines.

2. Places of employment at which the following types of work are performed:

(a) aerial crop spraying, operation of helicopters, water bombing;

(b) autobody and automotive paint repairing, bumper electroplating, auto rust proofing, auto glass installation, auto vinyl roofing, fibreglassing boats and autos;

(c) building construction;

(d) camp catering;

(e) farming and ranching;

(f) forestry work other than pulp and paper production;

(g) forwarding and warehousing as a business;

(h) metal manufacturing and machining, marble works, concrete block and ready mix manufacturing;

(i) oilwell servicing;

(j) oil and gas drilling, well servicing with a rig, water well drilling;

(k) processing meat, poultry and fish;

(l) road construction and earthwork, urban sewer and water construction, tunnelling;

(m) trucking;

(n) wholesale baking, dairy products, soft drinks and food preparation and packaging.

[Sask. Reg. 35/2003, s. 5]

Part II Notice Requirements

Section 9 Dangerous occurrences

9. (1) In this section, "dangerous occurrence" means any occurrence that does not result in, but could have resulted in, a condition or circumstance set out in subsection 8(1), and includes:

(a) the structural failure or collapse of:

(i) a structure, scaffold, temporary falsework or concrete formwork; or

(ii) all or any part of an excavated shaft, tunnel, caisson, coffer dam, trench or excavation;

(b) the failure of a crane or hoist or the overturning of a crane or unit of powered mobile equipment;

(c) an accidental contact with an energized electrical conductor;

(d) the bursting of a grinding wheel;

(e) an uncontrolled spill or escape of a toxic, corrosive or explosive substance;

(f) a premature detonation or accidental detonation of explosives;

(g) the failure of an elevated or suspended platform; and

(h) the failure of an atmosphere-supplying respirator.

(2) An employer, contractor or owner shall give notice to the division as soon as is reasonably possible of any dangerous occurrence that takes place at a place of employment, whether or not a worker sustains injury.

(3) A notice required by subsection (2) must include:

(a) the name of each employer, contractor and owner at the place of employment;

(b) the date, time and location of the dangerous occurrence;

(c) the circumstances related to the dangerous occurrence; and

(d) the name, telephone number and fax number of the employer, contractor or owner or a person designated by the employer, contractor or owner to be contacted for additional information.

(4) An employer, contractor or owner shall provide each co-chairperson or the representative with a copy of the notice required by subsection (2).

Mines Regulations, 2003
R.R.S., c. O-1, r. 2

Part V General Safety Requirements

Section 28 Regular inspection of underground mine

28. (1) An employer or contractor must prepare a written plan for regular inspections of an underground mine that:

(a) identifies the parts of the mine to be inspected; and

(b) subject to subsection (2), specifies the frequency of inspection for each part of the mine to be inspected, taking into account:

(i) the work to be done in the mine;

(ii) the conditions arising in the mine; and

(iii) the requirements of these regulations.

(2) Inspections must be made at least once during each shift in any underground part of the mine where:

(a) mining is taking place;

(b) drilling or blasting is taking place; or

(c) a worker is working alone.

(3) An employer or contractor must:

(a) appoint a competent person to implement the plan for inspection of a mine;

(b) ensure that the person appointed pursuant to clause (a) records each inspection carried out; and

(c) ensure that any condition relevant to the health or safety of workers on succeeding shifts is recorded in the shift record.

Section 29 Inspection of equipment and worksite

29. An employer must ensure that each worker inspects his or her worksite and equipment for defects and unsafe conditions at the beginning of each shift, and as necessary after that, to ensure that the worksite and equipment are safe.

Section 30 Remedying defects, unsafe conditions

30. (1) If a defect or unsafe condition that may create a hazard to a worker is identified, an employer or contractor must:

(a) until appropriate steps are taken pursuant to clause (b), take immediate steps to protect the health and safety of any worker who may be at risk; and

(b) as soon as is reasonably practicable, take suitable action to correct the defect or unsafe condition.

(2) A worker who knows or has reason to believe that a worksite or any equipment under the worker's control is not in a safe condition must:

(a) repair the defect or correct the unsafe condition if the worker is authorized by the employer to do so and is competent to do so; or

(b) as soon as is reasonably practicable, report the condition of the worksite or equipment to the employer.

Part II General Notice Requirements

Section 6 Dangerous occurrences

6. (1) In this section, "dangerous occurrence" means any occurrence that does not result in, but could have resulted in, a condition or circumstance set out in subsection 8(1) of the OHS regulations, and includes:

(a) the structural failure or collapse of a structure, scaffold, temporary falsework, concrete formwork, dam or bulkhead;

(b) the unanticipated failure or collapse of all or any part of an excavated shaft, tunnel, caisson, coffer dam, trench or excavation;

(c) any equipment failure involving a hoist, sheave, hoisting rope, conveyance, shaft timbering or shaft lining;

(d) any inrush of water underground;

(e) any outbreak of fire underground;

(f) any outbreak of fire on the surface that causes structural damage to a building at the mine;

(g) any call-out of a mine rescue team;

(h) any unusual gaseous condition in a workings;

(i) any rockburst or unexpected or uncontrolled subsidence or caving-in of a workings;

(j) any failure during use of the braking or steering system of a vehicle used for the hauling or loading of ore or waste;

(k) any loss of control of any vehicle conveying workers;

(l) the failure of a crane or hoist or the overturning of a crane or unit of powered mobile equipment;

(m) an accidental contact with an energized electrical conductor;

(n) the bursting of a grinding wheel;

(o) an uncontrolled spill or escape of a toxic, corrosive or explosive substance;

(p) a premature detonation or accidental detonation of explosives;

(q) the failure of an elevated or suspended platform; and

(r) the failure of an atmosphere-supplying respirator.

(2) An employer, contractor or owner shall give notice to the division as soon as is reasonably possible of any dangerous occurrence that takes place, whether or not a worker sustains injury.

(3) A notice required by subsection (2) must include:

(a) the name of each employer, contractor and owner involved in the dangerous occurrence at the mine;

(b) the date, time and location of the dangerous occurrence;

(c) the circumstances related to the dangerous occurrence;

(d) the name, telephone number and fax number of the employer, contractor or owner or a person designated by the employer, contractor or owner to be contacted for additional information.

(4) An employer, contractor or owner shall provide each co-chairperson or the representative with a copy of the notice required by subsection (2).

(5) An employer, contractor or owner shall ensure that every dangerous occurrence is investigated and a written report prepared in accordance with section 31 of the OHS regulations.