All employers are legally required to maintain a safe workplace by meeting the standards set out in the Safety Act(s) and Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (OHS Regulations). These Acts form the basis for protecting the health and safety of workers and employers in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. WSCC is the arm's length government agency responsible for making sure that employers meet their legal responsibilities.
The WSCC conducts over 1,000 inspections annually to ensure the safety of northern workers. During an inspection, an appointed Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Inspector will visit a worksite and assess work practices. Inspections can result in directions or orders that list corrective actions an employer needs to complete by an agreed upon date to protect the health and safety of people at the worksite. Inspections can also provide positive observations and feedback to employers.
5 Things to Know About Inspections
- There are 4 possible reasons your workplace is being inspected:
- A Scheduled Inspection is the most common type, and happens when your company is selected for an inspection, or when an employer requests an inspection.
- Focused Inspections are based on a risk identified by the WSCC, which could be a topic based on overall injury rates, or a change to legislation that impacts your industry.
- Referrals result from an Employer’s Report of Incident or a Report of Unsafe Work made to the WSCC.
- Follow-Up Inspections occur when there is an outstanding item from a past inspection or direction, or additional support is requested by the employer.
- After every inspection, a Workplace Inspection Report is sent to the employer. This report will detail observations, which can be both positive feedback, and areas for improvement. If there is a hazard identified in your workplace, you will also receive directions. Directions will cite the safety legislation that must be complied with.
- The deadline for compliance is set by the WSCC Inspector and employer representative. You are able to request a revised deadline if you require more time.*
- If you do not meet compliance by the deadline, you will receive reminders 24 hours after the deadline, 14 days after the deadline, and the final notification at 28 days after the deadline, which will include actions determined by the Chief Mining and OHS Inspector and the WSCC OHS Inspector.
- At any point in this process, if an imminent danger to workers is found on your work site, a Stop Work Order can immediately be issued for the task or impacted area. The task can start again only once compliance is achieved.
The WSCC is here to support every workplace in meeting the requirements of Nunavut and Northwest Territories safety legislation. We encourage you to maintain open communication with us with questions or concerns about the safety of workers. If you have questions about any Inspection Reports or Directions that you have received, notify the WSCC Inspector you have been working with at any time. If you have general questions on the inspection process or compliance, contact us today.
*An extension request can only be submitted up to 14 days past the deadline for compliance. At that point, the WSCC is still able to support you with reaching compliance, but you must achieve compliance within the following 14 days, a total of 28 days past the original deadline.