Health and Safety Committee

Q - Does the WPHSC inspect areas that the employer identifies as not being under their control? (e.g. Boiler room, HVAC room, storage rooms, etc.)

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The following sections of the Canada Labour Code (CLC) Part II state:

Specific duties of employer

125. (1) Without restricting the generality of section 124, every employer shall, in respect of every work place controlled by the employer and, in respect of every work activity carried out by an employee in a work place that is not controlled by the employer, to the extent that the employer controls the activity,

Duties of committee

135. (7)
...(e) shall participate in all of the inquiries, investigations, studies and inspections pertaining to the health and safety of employees, including any consultations that may be necessary with persons who are professionally or technically qualified to advise the committee on those matters;

The following sections of the COHSR states:

Investigations

2.27 (1) Every employer shall develop, or appoint a qualified person to develop, a procedure for investigating situations in which the health or safety of an employee in the work place is or may be endangered by the air quality.

...(5) The investigation shall be carried out in consultation with the work place committee or the health and safety representative.
...(6) To the extent reasonably practicable, the employer shall, in consultation with the work place committee or the health and safety representative, remove or control any health or safety hazard that is identified in the course of the investigation.

A –There are areas within a building that do not form part of the work place and are under the control of the property owner. As such, they are not made accessible to CRA personnel and/or the WPHSC. In some cases only qualified personnel are granted access to certain areas by the property owner, who assumes their control. Examples of these areas include: boiler rooms, HVAC and equipment rooms, electrical rooms, janitor closets, building maintenance rooms and workshops, elevator equipment rooms, and mechanical penthouses, etc. These areas would not be inspected, as doing so may expose CRA WPHSC representatives to risk. If there are specific concerns with a given area, it is suggested that a request be made with the local Finance & Administration representative to be provided with an opportunity to perform a cursory ‘view’ of these areas, which, if at all possible, should be done without entering the actual space. Note that this would be completely at the discretion of the building owner, whether it be PWGSC or a private sector landlord. If the building owner denies a request to view such an area, alternate means should be used to satisfy safety related concerns, such as requesting the provision of written reports