The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many workplace routines, but never have routine health and safety inspections been more important or required greater diligence.
Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act requires employers to take every reasonable precaution to safeguard worker health and safety (s25(2)(h)). Joint health and safety committees (JHSCs) and worker health and safety representatives though, also have both a right and responsibility to participate in the pursuit of safer, healthier workplaces. Included in their role is a requirement for JHSCs (s9(23-29)) or worker health and safety reps (s8(6-9)) to inspect the workplace at least one a month.
Given the evolving nature of this pandemic, what we know about the virus and its transmission, and concerns for future waves of infection, it may be prudent to conduct even more frequent workplace inspections. As many more workplaces prepare to reopen, conducting a thorough inspection prior to workers re-entering the workplace is reasonable too.
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Confronting COVID-19: Conducting effective workplace inspections