Workplace Site Audits: A Step-by-Step Overview


An inspector can drop by unannounced on any day so you should always be prepared. They recently announced the schedule of health and safety inspection blitzes and regional initiatives for Ontario, so it is important to be prepared for a workplace inspection and what is expected of you. The CPO’s schedule includes smaller-scale provincial and regional enforcement initiatives and provides-wide sector-specific enforcement plans. Determined by the size of your workplace and the level of health and safety awareness and compliance, the inspection can take half a day to more than one day.


Step-By-Step Overview of a Workplace Site Audit


1. An Inspector will come to your workplace

When an inspector arrives at your workplace, they will ask for identification and to speak with the most senior member of management that is available at your workplace, the workplace health and safety representative and worker safety representative. The worker occupational health and safety (OHS) representative will be asked to speak to the inspector and accompany them on a tour of the workplace. If all the previous personnel mentioned are not available the inspector may continue with a limited inspection and arrange a follow-up visit on the same date or the following day.


2. The inspector will check that all mandatory documentation is on site

Once it is established that the required personnel is available to meet with the inspector, the inspector will check that all legislated Occupational Health and Safety Act documentation is on site. This should include a workplace violence and harassment policy, written occupational health and safety policy, and a health and safety awareness poster. The inspector may ask to see where the documents are posted and verify that a copy of the Act and its regulations is also displayed. These should be in an area that is accessible and on display for all employees. They may also ask to see all training documentation that shows all your workers and supervisors have been trained with health and safety information, so you should always keep this information on hand to avoid any complications.


3. The inspector will stop to talk to workers and supervisors while touring with your OHS representative

Inspectors have the authority to speak to anyone, take photos, test and handle machinery and review all documentation in the workplace. The inspector will walk through the workplace with your OHS representative, and stop to talk to workers and supervisors to make sure you are maintaining a safe workplace.


4. The Inspector will determine if your workplace compliant with current health and safety regulations

At this point in the site audit, the inspector will give comments on positive aspects of the workplace and identify concerns they may have. If their concerns are severe they may issue a ‘stop work’ order, which will shut down the workplace until the health and safety hazard are resolved. They may receive a ‘compliance’ order with a deadline to resolve the matter or a ‘forthwith’ order which means the issue must be resolved before they leave the workplace. Once an inspector has written an order, employers will have a specific time period to fix the issues and provide written proof of having done so. The order can be appealed if you do not agree with the order.


5. The inspection will either end the same day or there will be a follow up based on your inspector’s instructions

If there are no issues, the inspection will end. If there are any identified concerns, it is the responsibility of the employer to resolve any health and safety issues and advise the CPO in writing of the changes made, at that point the inspection will finish.



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