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Workplace Inspections


Workplace inspections at Ryerson are in compliance by law with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), external link and the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Management System Policy.


Workplace inspections must be conducted annually and include all office spaces, kitchens and meeting spaces, research and teaching labs, storage spaces and any other rooms controlled by the department. Inspections are important as they allow inspection teams to:

  • listen to the concerns of workers and supervisors;
  • gain further understanding of jobs and tasks performed in their department;
  • identify existing and potential hazards;
  • determine underlying causes of hazards;
  • monitor hazard controls (personal protective equipment, engineering controls, policies and procedures); and
  • recommend corrective action.

Every inspection reporting process should aim to answer the who, what, where, when and how. Particular attention should be paid to items most likely to develop into unsafe or unhealthy conditions because of stress, wear, impact, vibration, heat, corrosion, chemical reaction or misuse.

While doing inspections, all workplace elements — the environment, the equipment and the process — must be considered.

  • Environment: includes such hazards as noise, vibration, lighting, temperature and ventilation.
  • Equipment: includes materials, tools and apparatus for producing a product or a service.
  • Process: involves how the worker interacts with the other elements in a series of tasks or operations.

How hazards are categorized

Workplace hazards may be categorized so that hazard-specific, appropriate action can be taken.

Hazard category Acronym
Chemical hazards: includes any form of chemical such as compressed gases, solvents. CHM
Biological hazards: includes organisms or toxic substances produced by living things that can cause illnesses or disease in humans (e.g. bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, insects). BIO
Physical hazards: includes noise, vibration, heat, cold and radiation. PHS
Ergonomic hazards: includes design of the workplace and jobs that involve repetition, force and posture. ERG
Energy hazards: includes pneumatic or hydraulic pressure, steam, heat and electricity. ENY
Environmental hazards: includes comfort factors such as temperature and relative humidity, exposure to particulates, dust, moulds, and spores. ENV
Machine hazards: includes hazards from moving parts like rotating shafts, belts, pulleys, blades and saws. MAC
Work practice hazards: includes failure to have or follow safe work practices. WKP

How risk level is identified

After identifying the hazard type, the hazard may be classified by risk level (i.e. class A is high risk, class B is moderate risk and class C is low risk) so as to assist in prioritizing the action plan.

Class type Description
Class "A" Hazard
(high risk)
A condition or practice with the potential for permanent disability, loss of life or body part, and/or extensive loss of structure, equipment or material.
Class "B" Hazard
(moderate risk)
A condition or practice with the potential for serious injury or illness (resulting in serious or temporary disability) or property damage that is disruptive but less so than Class "A".
Class "C" Hazard
(low risk)

A condition or practice with the potential for injury or illness, or disruptive (non-disabling) property damage.


A complete workplace inspection, including all rooms under the control of the department (e.g. research and teaching labs, offices, kitchen spaces, meeting rooms) must be completed once per calendar year (from January 1 to December 31). Departments are not responsible for inspecting areas within their vicinity but outside of their control (e.g. washrooms, classrooms, hallways).

Inspections are conducted by the Joint Health and Safety Committee with support from EHS. Training is provided by EHS in addition to certification training.

Learn more about the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC), including about meetings and the 2019 inspection schedule.

Inspection teams are expected to:

Inspection teams may choose to use these inspection checklists as required:  

Inspection teams are expected to transfer the information from the Workplace Inspection Hazard Reporting Form to the excel fileInspection Summary Report. Your report should:

  • specifically describe hazards, including location;
  • categorize hazards and identify risks;
  • recommend controls;
  • identify who should receive the report;
  • specify response time (e.g. 21 days); and
  • include follow-up protocol.

Inspection teams should ensure that all class "A" Hazard (high risk) items are addressed immediately and that controls are in place.

Supervisors are responsible for maintaining a safe workplace on an ongoing basis. When hazards are communicated to them, it is their duty to ensure that corrective actions are taken.


Workplace inspections at Ryerson are in compliance by law with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), external link and the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Management System Policy.


If you have any questions related to workplace inspections, please contact Environmental Health and Safety at or 416-979-5000, ext. 553770.