• Issued: November 23, 2016
  • Content last reviewed: November 2016

Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help the workplace parties understand some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations. For further information please see full disclaimer.

The Guidelines for Pre-Start Health and Safety Reviews have been prepared to provide information to assist workplace parties in understanding their obligations, the levels of diligence, methodology and reporting required to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), and Section 7 of the Industrial Establishments Regulation, Revised Regulations of Ontario 1990, Regulation 851. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation.

You may view the Industrial Establishments Regulation on the e-Laws website. It is the responsibility of the workplace parties to ensure compliance with the legislation or its regulations. This guideline does not constitute legal advice. If you require assistance with respect to the interpretation of the legislation or its regulations and its potential application in specific circumstances, please contact your legal counsel.

While these guidelines will also be available to Ministry of Labour inspectors, they will apply and enforce the OHSA and its regulations based on the facts as they may find them in the workplace. This guideline does not affect their enforcement discretion in any way.

Workplace parties need to consider the following points:

  • All requirements of the OHSA and regulations must be complied with in the workplace. Where a pre-start health and safety review (PSR) is not required or an exemption from the requirements of Section 7 applies, the employer must ensure that workers will be protected when they use any apparatus, structure, protective element or process in the workplace.
  • The section 7 table from the Industrial Establishments Regulation specifies the provisions of the regulation that apply and circumstances under which a PSR is required. There may be other compliance requirements that need to be met before any apparatus, protective element, structure and/or process is used. Even if a PSR is not required, it is still the employer’s responsibility to meet these other requirements. To avoid a costly retrofit the employer may broaden the scope of a regulated PSR to include these other requirements.
  • Integrating health and safety early – at the design stage and before the equipment is used – is a cost-effective and proactive way to prevent workplace illness or injury. The benefits are numerous, including direct savings from minimizing retrofitting; less downtime and replacement of equipment; savings in workplace insurance claims due to fewer illnesses and injuries; and, most importantly, maintaining health and safety in the workplace.
  • These guidelines do not set out how a PSR is to be carried out. The regulation allows for flexibility in that it does not specify any one report format. Where employers have existing review systems and processes to comply with health and safety requirements prior to start-up, they may use them to satisfy PSR requirements, provided that the evaluation, review and written report are done by an appropriate person as required in subsections 7(11) and (12) of the Industrial Establishments Regulation.
  • A PSR includes a written report that outlines all areas of non-compliance and the measures necessary to achieve compliance (steps, actions or engineering controls as required by subsection 7(4)).
  • The employer must ensure that the apparatus, structure, protective element or process complies with the applicable sections of the Industrial Establishments Regulation.

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Disclaimer: This web resource has been prepared to assist the workplace parties in understanding some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the regulations. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation.

It is the responsibility of the workplace parties to ensure compliance with the legislation. This web resource does not constitute legal advice. If you require assistance with respect to the interpretation of the legislation and its potential application in specific circumstances, please contact your legal counsel.

While this web resource will also be available to Ministry of Labour inspectors, they will apply and enforce the OHSA and its regulations based on the facts as they may find them in the workplace. This web resource does not affect their enforcement discretion in any way.