When Should Inspections Take Place?
The Occupational Health & Safety Act requires that workplace inspections be conducted monthly. Inspections must take place in each month that there are workers in the building. Months with fewer school days must not be skipped.
At locations where both the designated worker and the alternate do not work in July or August, the Health and Safety department will arrange for the location to be inspected during those months by a designated worker from another location or by a worker member of the Multi-Workplace Joint Health & Safety Committee (MJHSC).
Inspections take place during the designated worker’s regular work hours. Release time is provided. PETL members that are designated workers should avoid scheduling inspections to occur during planning times. As a best practice, it is recommended that inspections be scheduled to occur earlier in the month, avoiding the last few days, so that should an inspection need to be rescheduled, that month will not be missed.
Who Conducts the Inspection?
The inspection is conducted by the designated worker, or in some cases a member of the MJHSC. The designated worker represents all workers while conducting the inspection, regardless of union or employee group.
The Principal is encouraged to accompany the designated worker in an effort to promote effective communication. However, if the principal is unavailable, the inspection can still proceed.
What areas of the school are inspected?
All areas of the school are to be inspected each month. This includes, but is not limited to, areas such as:
- library, computer lab
- staff room
- hallways and stairwells
- storage areas
- first aid station
- health & safety bulletin board
- custodial areas
- mechanical, electrical, and boiler rooms
- outdoor areas, walkways
- driveways, parking lot, kiss’n’ride area
Inspections are intended to examine all factors (building condition, equipment, materials, and processes) that could potentially cause injury or illness to any worker, regardless of employee group. Every area of the school is a workspace for some member of staff, so all areas need to be inspected. Some areas are the workspace of many different workers. For example, a classroom is the workspace of not just the classroom teacher, but also other teachers, support staff, and custodians.
During the inspection, the designated worker may also ask workers if they have any concerns which should be noted on the report.
It is important to keep in mind that an inspection is an observation and report on the safety of the work environment, not a judgement on the worker. Teachers shouldn’t take it personally if an issue is identified in their classroom, but instead presume positive intentions as we take advantage of opportunities to further improve safety in our workplaces.
How do I see the results of the inspection?
All Board employees can view the inspection reports at the PDSB Workplace Safety Inspection Website.
How are the identified issues dealt with?
The location’s supervisor is responsible for responding to the items identified on the inspection report within 21 days of receipt of the report. He or she will deal with the issues in a variety of ways depending on the nature of the issue. This may include resolving the issue themselves, referring the issue to a particular person for correction, creating a work order, seeking the assistance of the Safety Officer at the Board office, or whatever action is appropriate to the issue.
Questions? Contact the PETL Occupational Health & Safety Teacher Advisor
If you have any questions about the inspection process, please contact the PETL Occupational Health & Safety Teacher Advisor, Lisa Marie Gonsalves, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-564-7233.