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Health and Safety Audits: Are You Prepared?

By May 28, 2018June 27th, 2023Practice Management

The Occupational Health and Safety Act applies to dental offices, and it allows an inspector to enter – at any time – to perform an inspection.  These audits are sometimes announced, sometimes not announced. 

We have talked before about the upcoming blitzes for 2018 and 2019, but we already know what those blitzes will likely uncover.

In 2016 and 2017, the Ministry of Labour conducted some of these audits, and they recently released a report with their findings.  In this report, no dentists were mentioned, but we know that dentists have been targeted in the past.

Here’s a summary of the Ministry’s audit report:

  • The Ministry conducted 3,045 inspections and issued 8,386 orders.
  • They focused on small businesses (less than 50 workers), who had newly registered with Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), and who had had no prior contact with the Ministry of Labour.
  • The Inspectors were looking for
    • a health and safety policies
    • a health and safety representative and/or Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC), where required
    • posting requirements (posters, legislation)
    • training requirements
    • whether vulnerable workers were aware of their rights

The results of all of the inspections were the following:

  • Over 6,700 orders/requirements issued under the law.
  • The most frequently issued orders were due to employers’ failure to:
    • post a copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (and any related explanatory material in the proper language)
    • prepare and review, at least annually, a written occupational health and safety policy, and develop and maintain a program to implement that policy
    • ensure equipment, materials and protective devices they provided are maintained in good condition
    • have a worker health and safety representative at the workplace where required
    • take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of workers
    • ensure that a health and safety representative inspects the physical condition of the workplace at least once a month
    • ensure a workplace’s violence and harassment policies were in a written form and posted in a conspicuous place
    • prepare a workplace violence policy
    • prepare a workplace harassment policy
    • ensure workers completed a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program
    • ensure supervisors completed a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program

An OHSA audit can take place at any time – there does not need to be a complaint for the Ministry to enter a dental office and audit for compliance with the law.

DMC helps dentists with their legal compliance with all employment and health and safety laws.  Contact us for more information.

The Content of this post is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal, financial, tax, or other professional advice of any kind. You are advised to contact DMC (or other counsel) to seek specific legal advice concerning your individual situation.