index.phpInternal Responsibility System (IRS)" />

Table of Contents | Print This Page

Audit Approach | Synopsis From: The Internal Responsibility System In Ontario Mines

  • Revised: September 2009
  • Content last reviewed: June 2009
  • Final Report: The Trial Audit & Recommendations
  • Revised: Steering Committee 23 October 2000 (September 2000; 31 July 2000)
  • Ian M. Plummer, Peter W. Strahlendorf, Michael G. Holliday

The audit tool consisted of four major components:

  • administration of questionnaires to individuals that represent each level of responsibility associated with the IRS;
  • follow-up interviews with a representative sample of questionnaire respondents;
  • observation and discussion of the situation in the workplace; and
  • documentation selected by the mine's JHSC to provide examples of how their IRS was being implemented.

Participants with Direct Responsibility in the IRS and Those with a Contributive Role

Direct Participants

  • Members of Board of Directors
  • Executives
  • Managers
  • Supervisors
  • Workers

Contributive Participants

  • Internal
    • Joint Health and Safety Committee
    • Health and Safety Staff [ 1 ]
    • Engineers [ 2 ]
    • Other Staff [ 3]
    • Union(s) [ 4 ]
  • External
    • Union(s) [ 5 ]
    • Safe Workplace Association
    • Workers’ Centre
    • Ministry of Labour
    • WSIB
    • Suppliers

There were 10 different questionnaires-for six levels of direct responsibility and for four levels of contributive responsibility:

Direct Responsibility

  • Company Directors
  • Senior Executive Officers
  • Mine Managers
  • Senior Supervisors
  • Front-line Supervisors
  • Workers

Contributive Responsibility

  • Co-chairs of the JHSC
  • Certified Members
  • OHS Specialist
  • Ministry Inspectors

Each questionnaire consisted of some 30 to 40 questions. With the exception of the first question (which was in multiple-choice format), there were two types of questions. One type asked whether the respondent "strongly disagreed", somewhat disagreed", somewhat agreed", or "strongly agreed" with a statement concerning an aspect of the IRS as it applied to the respondent's work. The other type of question asked for direct information in the form of "Yes/No" answers.

At each mine, we administered questionnaires to about 25 workers (the numbers varied between 14 and 27), five front-line supervisors (the numbers varied between 3 and 7), three middle managers (the numbers varied between 0 and 5), the mine manager, the two JHSC co-chairs and two certified members, and the health and safety co-ordinator. At each site, we conducted follow-up interviews with about one third of the workers and front-line supervisors, about half the middle managers and JHSC members, and the mine manager and the health and safety co-ordinator. We also informally interviewed workers as we took a tour of the underground mine. In addition, we asked each mine to provide us with documentary evidence that they felt would serve to illustrate functioning of the IRS at the site. Off site, we administered questionnaires to the MOL (Ministry of Labour) inspector(s) responsible for the mine, and attempted also to administer questionnaires to two senior executives and a company Director for each mine, and conducted follow-up interviews with all who answered the questionnaires. The numbers of questionnaires administered and interviews carried out are presented in Table B.

Table B: Tally of Questionnaires Answered and Follow-up Interviews Conducted During the Trial Audit
  Questionnaires Answered Follow-Up Interviews
Company Director 4 4
Senior Officers 10 9
Mine Managers 8 8
Middle Managers 19 13
Front-Line Supervisors 34 18
Workers 151 56
Co-Chairs 11 8
Certified Members 15 13
H&S Co-ordinators 7 7
Inspectors 8 8
Total 267 144

[1] [2] [3] Although these parties are contributive to the IRS in the workplace in general, they are also direct parties to the IRS in their own workplaces.

[4] [5] An earlier version of the audit tool was tested at two mines (also selected by the IRS Steering Committee)-Craig Mine, Onaping; Campbell Mine, Red Lake-in the pilot phase of the project. The experience gained led to modifications in the questionnaires that were then administered in the trial audit.]/p>

Previous | Next