HOT TOPIC: OH&S Inspections in Alberta

HOT TOPIC: OH&S Inspections in Alberta

The hot topic these days is the random Occupational Health & Safety inspections in Dental Practices that have started to happen in Alberta.

We are often asked: What's the purpose of a workplace inspection?

To answer that question, let's start with the purpose of a workplace inspection, which is to ensure that the workplace is:

  1. Healthy
  2. Safe
  3. Free of hazards for all employees

The first step is understanding what hazards exist in the workplace and what safety measures we can implement to keep our employees safe & healthy! It starts by conducting an annual hazard assessment for ALL of the roles within the practice. Reviewing every position and department's job duties and see what potential hazards exist.

The second component is to have each employee complete a self hazard assessment and compare it against your assessment. Having two sets of eyes will ensure nothing is missed and protocols have been developed.

When conducting your hazard assessment you should be evaluating these 5 areas:

  1. biological hazards
  2. chemical hazards
  3. ergonomic hazards (which include those caused by physiological and psychological demands within the workplace)
  4. physical hazards
  5. psychological hazards

Now with COVID-19, you also need to ensure that you are taking proper administrative and engineering controls to minimize the spread of the virus to your patients or employees. For these OHS inspections, the OHS officer will likely want to see your exposure-response plan. This response plan walks through the different protocols in place, your contingency plan, and how you would respond if there was an outbreak in your practice/area.

The sorts of controls, that should be included is:

  1. Increases to PPE that you're using.
  2. Physical distancing guidelines
  3. Health screening for your employees that you have put in place
  4. Affirmation of health that you're getting your patients to fill out
  5. Patient screening procedure with phone calls
  6. Record of cleaning, sanitation, and disinfection procedures that are taking place right now within the office.

It's important to do your due diligence to keep the work environment safe, but also to have that exposure-response plan for if there was ever a scenario where a patient came in who did test positive for COVID or an employee who tested positive for COVID for example.

"It's better to be proactive and not reactive”

As you can see, there is a lot of information that you will need to provide during these inspections. To help, we have created a checklist for some of the things OHS inspectors are looking for.

Click HERE to take our OHS quiz!