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Ontario’s Ministry of Labour or MOL has recently hired hundreds of new inspectors, making it more important than ever to ensure that your company is following the protocols that are mandated by law. Not only do you have to beware of MOL Blitzes but a MOL Inspector can show up at any time for random or regular inspections, and if your company has a workplace accident, that could prompt an inspection.
MOL inspectors have the power to enter your workplace, operate or test your machinery, interview your employees and review your records, and as stated before this can happen at any time. On top of this, there are now hundreds of new inspectors, making it more important than ever to ensure that you are complying with current occupational health and safety legislation. With all this in mind, it is now imperative that your organizations can prove “Due Diligence” through the use of sound health and safety practices.
By having a strong safety culture as well as strong health and safety practices you will be ready for when a health and safety inspector arrives at your workplace.
So What Can You Do To Prepare?
Be aware of any upcoming MOL blitzes and prepare for them the best you can. You can learn about any blitzes that could affect you here.
Ensure that well before the blitz occurs that your company had the correct safety equipment in place and procedures in practice.
Safety equipment can include anything from machine guarding and fall protection devices.
Ensure that your equipment is regularly inspected and maintained, and ensure your records of this are kept up to date.
Inspections though often only mandated by law to be needed on an annual basis are a way to ensure that you get the most of your equipment. Keep in mind how you use your equipment and consider placing it in a preventative maintenance program which will ensure that it is regularly inspected and maintained based upon how you use it; this will also help to ensure that you pass any tests that an inspector may place your equipment through.
You can also conduct a mock inspection on your own to identify any possible deficiencies that an inspector may find, this will allow you to take the appropriate steps to fix the problem before the real inspection occurs.
What Should You Do When the Inspector Arrives?
Greet the inspector courteously and ask them what the purpose of his/her visit is. I.e. is it a general audit, or is it for a specific investigation?
Have someone i.e. a committee member or a health and safety representative with the inspector at all times during his or her visit.
Do NOT obstruct an inspection, this could be considered to be offensive, which in turn could cause the inspector to be harder than necessary on you; but you may be able to make alternative arrangements for the time and date of the inspection.
Remember to be careful of what you say, because even though you may believe that it is “off the record” the inspector may still record it.
Keep a record of all the documents and other items that the inspector takes with them, and object if the inspector requests privileged documents.
If you or any of your employees are interviewed ensure that you cooperate, but consider asking the inspector to conduct the interviews at a later date and time if you believe it will inhibit your business at the current time.
Ensure that if an interview does take place, everyone who is interviewed answers all of the questions to the best of their ability, and understands that “I don’t know” is considered to be an acceptable answer.
If you have an objection to anything that this inspector is doing, record the objection on a piece of paper, BUT again do not make any attempts to obstruct the inspection.
Remember that inspections are necessary to make sure that everyone is obeying the laws and to help prevent accidents from occurring in the workplace. The best way to ensure that you not only pass inspection but also can ensure the safety of your employees is to make sure that you are following the safety legislation as it is dictated by your local government.
Do you have any tips on you can prepare for a MOL Blitz or ensure you will pass an inspection?