The purpose of workplace health and safety inspections is to identify hazardous conditions that require intervention (e.g. correction or improvement) in order to meet minimum acceptable health and safety legislation, standards and/or best practices. There are different types of inspections, with some being formal, thorough and systematic at periodic, intermittent or planned intervals. Informal continuous inspections should be part of a supervisor’s and worker’s daily routine.
Joint Health and Safety Committee inspections
Joint Health and Safety Committee inspections are conducted by the members of the health and safety committee and are required under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act. Because of the physical size of the University, workplace inspections are conducted monthly to inspect the physical condition of the entire campus at least once annually. A JHSC inspection is considered valid when at least one worker health and safety committee member participants. The JHSC Inspector assists the health and safety committee to accomplish JHSC inspections. There is a process and standardized format for workplace inspections (PDF, 1.1MB).
Under the uOttawa Terms of Reference, the JHSC Inspector is recognized as representing worker health and safety committee members. When the JHSC Inspector is participating in the inspection, this is a JHSC inspection for the purposes of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act. The JHSC Inspector does not represent nor is influenced by management decisions. The JHSC Inspector can be reached at [email protected].
Management has the greatest authority to ensure a healthy and safe workplace; however, other University representatives, such as Faculty Health, Safety and Risk Managers (HSRMs) or the Office of Risk Management, also conduct inspections. These are called management inspections. These inspections also serve to identify hazardous conditions; however, they occur more frequently to ensure a safe and healthy work environment.
These different types of inspection can be joined for the purposes of completing JHSC inspections, if a worker health and safety committee is present. As an example:
- Worker health and safety committee member + management member = JHSC inspection
- Worker health and safety committee member + worker health and safety committee member = JHSC inspection
- Management member + management member = management inspection
- Management member + worker who is not a committee member = management inspection
Following a workplace inspection, a report is written and typically sent to the building's Facility Manager or Building Management Agent, who is responsible to respond to the report. The response must include the action taken following recommendations raised from the report or reasons for disagreement of recommendations.
Building Management Agents
Deans and directors will designate - for each building in which there are University of Ottawa premises or occupied by University Staff member - the management agent for health and safety matters. This is a person to whom Functional Occupational Health and Safety Committees (FOHSCs) or the University Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (UJOHSC) are to submit reports of problems concerning that building. The FOHSCs or the UJOHSC are to submit reports of problems concerning several buildings or campus areas outside of buildings to the Office of Risk Management.
The Office of Risk Management will also communicate with these individuals for health and safety matters related to their space(s).
Role of Building Management Agents
- Contact person for each Faculty / Service within a building
- Oversees the operations within the work unit / building
- Coordinates with contractors (as necessary)
- Distributes information to occupants
- Participate in health and safety inspections and respond to the reports
- List is updated 4 times per year
The building management agent is most commonly the facility manager or physical resources agent for the work unit.