• 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.

There are a number of terms used in section 7 which are defined in the Industrial Establishments Regulation:

"apparatus" means equipment or a machine or device;

"protective element" means a shield, a guard, an operating control acting as a guard, a locking device or any other device preventing access;

"spray booth" means a spray booth as defined in O. Reg. 213/07 (Fire Code) made under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997;

For the purpose of these guidelines, the table in section 7 of the regulation is referred to as the "section 7 table."

These guidelines frequently refer to sections of the Industrial Establishments Regulation. Where the reference is to the Industrial Establishments Regulation, the regulation will not be named. However, in all cases where the reference is to another regulation or Act, this will be specified.

What is a pre-start health and safety review?

A pre-start health and safety review (PSR) is an in-depth examination of an apparatus, structure, protective element or process identified in the section 7 table that is undertaken to identify any potential or existing non-compliance with the applicable provisions of the Industrial Establishments Regulation (as listed in the section 7 table). The PSR includes a written report that outlines all areas of non-compliance and the measures necessary to achieve compliance (steps, actions or engineering controls).

A new apparatus, structure, protective element or process includes a newly installed or added apparatus, structure, protective element or process in the workplace.

For the purpose of this section, the term "process" refers only to those processes listed and identified in the table found in section 7 of the Industrial Establishments Regulation under items 4 and 8.

When is a pre-start health and safety review required?

A pre-start health and safety review is required when the specific sections of the Industrial Establishments Regulation and the circumstances listed in the section 7 table apply.

Section 7(2) reads:

(2) Subject to subsections (5), (7), (8) and (9), a pre-start health and safety review is required if, in a factory other than a logging operation, a provision of this Regulation listed in the Table applies and the circumstances described in the Table will exist,

  • (a) because a new apparatus, structure or protective element is to be constructed, added or installed or a new process is to be used; or
  • (b) because an existing apparatus, structure, protective element or process is to be modified and one of the following steps must be taken to obtain compliance with the applicable provision:
    1. 1. New or modified engineering controls are used.
    2. 2. Other new or modified measures are used.
    3. 3. A combination of new, existing or modified engineering controls and other new or modified measures is used.

Is an evaluation the same as a PSR?

No. An evaluation is not a pre-start health and safety review, but merely a way of determining whether a PSR is required. For this reason, the person conducting the evaluation is not required to be a professional engineer. However, the persons should be competent as defined by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

The employer should have a process in place to ensure that an evaluation is conducted to determine whether a PSR is required on the modification, or establish the process through documentation.

What are "new or modified measures?"

According to paragraph 2 of clause 7(2)(b), "new or modified measures" may be taken to achieve compliance with the regulation. In the context of section 7 "new or modified measures" are those "measures" referred to in section 87.3 of the Industrial Establishments Regulation regarding molten material. These "measures" are to be used in a foundry if engineering controls to prevent spillage are not reasonably possible in the circumstances. This is the only section of the regulation noted in the "Applicable Provisions of this Regulation" column of the section 7 table that refers to "measures".

What about modifications to existing equipment?

There are several steps to consider if the employer is planning modifications to an existing apparatus, structure, protective element or process and the provisions and circumstances in the section 7 table apply.

If one of the three steps described in clause 7(2)(b) of the regulation must be taken to achieve compliance, then a PSR is required.

Note that if there is a lack of compliance due to intended modifications, but engineering or other control measures would restore compliance, a PSR would still be required before an apparatus, structure, protective element or process is used. This requirement is subject to the exemptions specified in the regulation.

Is a PSR required in laundry facility in a hospital?

Yes. Generally, the Regulation for Industrial Establishments (Regulation 851) applies to all industrial establishments (section 3, Regulation 851), and PSR requirements apply to all factories other than logging operations.

Factory is defined in the OHSA and includes, amongst other workplaces, a laundry facility, including a laundry facility operated in conjunction with a public or private hospital.

Please note that the Health Care and Residential Facilities Regulation (O. Reg. 67/93) also applies to laundry facilities located in health care facilities, including public and private hospitals, and would apply in the event of a conflict with the Industrial Establishments Regulation. Of note, section 2(2) of that regulation provides as follows:

2(2) At a laundry facility to which this Regulation applies, if the regulations under the OHSA relating to industrial establishments conflict with this regulation, this regulation prevails unless the provision in that other regulation states that it is to prevail over this regulation

While there does not appear to be any conflict between the PSR requirements and O. Reg. 67/93, if you require assistance with respect to the interpretation of the legislation and its potential application in specific circumstances, please contact your legal counsel.

What is the difference between maintaining an apparatus, structure, protective element or process and modifying it?

Maintenance is intended to capture activities/work on an apparatus, structure, protective element or process that restore it to its original state as designed and installed.

A PSR is not required for maintenance tasks.

Modification means activities or work on an apparatus, structure, protective element or process that changes it from its design and installation parameters.

Modifications may require a PSR, subject to any exemptions that may apply. In order to determine if a PSR is required for modifications to existing equipment, answer the following question:

Are the modifications to the apparatus, structure, protective element, or process such that new or modified engineering controls or other new or modified measures would be required to comply with the applicable provisions of the Industrial Establishments Regulation?

If the answer to this question is yes, then a PSR is required.

However, even when a PSR is required, there still may be exemptions available for guarding as outlined in subsections 7(5) and 7(6) of the Industrial Establishments Regulation. If one of these exemptions is being claimed or considered, the documents to establish the exemption must be available.

If the documents are not readily accessible in the workplace, then there is no exemption from the requirement to carry out a PSR.

What if a series of equipment is tied together – such as a tank and a pump. If one is not in compliance and the other part is, would a PSR be required?

PSRs can be carried out for processes or for specific equipment, depending on what section of the section 7 table is triggering the PSR. When a PSR is required and no exemption is applicable, whether the equipment is attached to other equipment or not, then a PSR is required.

To set the boundaries of the equipment covered by the PSR, one is required to look at the trigger for the PSR. For example, if the trigger is a process which may explode, then the PSR must include all the equipment involved in the process that may cause the explosion, as well as the equipment that may prevent the explosion or that may minimize damage if there is an explosion.

If a part is being replaced with an identical part, would a PSR be required?

No. In this case, the replacement of one part with an identical part would be considered maintenance, which does not require a PSR.

If a part is being replaced with an upgraded part, would a PSR be required?

Reference must be made to the requirements in clause 7(2)(b) of the regulation. If the replacement part results in the need for the use of new or modified engineering controls, other new or modified measures, or the use of a combination of new, existing or modified engineering controls and other new or modified measures, then a PSR is required.

Note: if there is an existing PSR, the author of the original PSR could simply update the existing PSR.

Can a recognized European standard be considered current and applicable?

A PSR is required according to the requirements in section 7 of the regulation. Section 7 references "current and applicable standards." If a piece of equipment meets a recognized European standard, a professional engineer licensed in Ontario must look at the standard in question to determine if following the standard achieves compliance with section 7 of the Industrial Establishments Regulation. If the review indicates that the standard meets the requirements, the professional engineer must be prepared to certify that it does so in writing.

Is a PSR required when equipment is moved?

A PSR would not be required if the equipment being moved to a new location:

  • is within the same workplace
  • meets the requirements set out in the section 7 table, and
  • is not being changed in any way, and
  • does not, because of the new location, introduce any new hazards.

However, a PSR would be required if:

  • the equipment is moved to a different workplace, or
  • the equipment is not currently in compliance with the Industrial Establishments regulation, or
  • as a result of changes in the process existing controls must be modified or new controls added to be in compliance with the requirements set out in the section 7 table, or
  • if the new location introduces an additional hazard.

Is a PSR required on existing equipment?

If a PSR was carried out or if the exemption was documented when the apparatus, structure, protective element or process was originally installed a PSR would not be required.

Note: if there have been modifications to the existing apparatus, structure, protective element, or process such that new or modified engineering controls or other new or modified measures would be required to comply with the applicable provisions of the Industrial Establishments Regulation, a PSR may be required.

Are there exemptions from the pre-start health and safety review requirement?

Yes. Even where there is a new apparatus, structure, protective element or process, or one that is intended to be modified, a pre-start health and safety review may not be required, depending on certain criteria. These criteria can be found in subsections 7(5) through (9).

What must be done with the documents establishing exemptions?

Subsection 7(10) requires that the documents establishing the exemption be kept readily accessible in the workplace for as long as the protective element, rack or stacking structure or lifting device, travelling crane or automobile hoist remains in the workplace, or for as long as the process is used.

Subsection 7(15) requires the documents to be made available for review, upon request, to the Joint Health and Safety Committee or Health and Safety Representative, if any, or to a Ministry of Labour inspector.

What if I find that there are other compliance issues which are outside of the scope of the PSR?

If the employer does not have an effective process in place to assess other compliance issues and incorporate them into design and installation, broadening the scope of the pre-start health and safety review to include these issues would help ensure compliance and avoid costly retrofit.

In such cases, the reviewer should identify requirements to comply with all related sections of the Industrial Establishments Regulation not specified in the section 7 table. A related section is one that directly relates to the particular circumstance listed in the section 7 table.

Do the standards to which the apparatus has been built and installed have to be specifically stated on the exemption documentation? Neither the guideline nor regulation states this to be a requirement.

It is recommended that the standards be stated in the exemption document. This would assist all workplace parties in future reviews, and would also assist the Joint Health and Safety Committee or Health and Safety Representative and the Ministry of Labour inspector who may request the documentation.

I am a supplier of equipment that may require a PSR. Am I required to provide a PSR to the employer purchasing the equipment?

It is the employer who must comply with the requirements for a PSR review, not the supplier. However, an employer could request exemption documents from the supplier and if they are not available, this may be a factor in the employer’s decision to purchase the equipment.

Furthermore, a supplier who is supplying equipment under a rental leasing or similar arrangement is required to ensure the equipment complies with the OHSA, and the regulations (OHSA section 31). This may require having a PSR.

If I am buying equipment from a supplier outside of Ontario, what should I do?

Regardless of where the equipment is manufactured, it would be advisable for the employer to make certain that their supply chain or procurement process very clearly states on the purchase order that a PSR is a requirement.

Another option would be for the employer to request documentation to support an exemption, if available. This documentation would be to confirm that the equipment was designed and built to a current applicable standard.

If an engineer has done a PSR and there is still an obvious hazard for an item not mentioned in the section 7 table, does the machine meet Regulation 851?

No. The PSR only deals with those eight items listed in the section 7 table and the applicable provisions of the Industrial Establishments Regulation (Regulation 851).

However, there may be other hazards, such as noise and inadequate lighting, that the employer must consider at any time to protect the health and safety of workers, including taking every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect workers.

If the PSR is done before the equipment apparatus/structure/ventilation system is installed, does the person conducting the PSR have to inspect to ensure the equipment/apparatus/structure/ventilation system is compliant and is safe for operation?

No. It is up to the employer to ensure compliance with the requirements of the regulation and ensure any non-compliant items identified in the PSR are addressed.

Ultimately, the accountability rests with the employer who has control of the workplace.

Do gas-fired appliances (boilers, furnaces, etc.) require a PSR?

A PSR must be carried out for appliances that are part of a process that involves the risk of ignition or explosion.

Appliances that are not part of a process that involves the risk of ignition or explosion and are designed and installed in compliance with the applicable legislation and standards (i.e. O. Reg. 220/01 Boiler and Pressure Vessels and, O. Reg. 211/01 Propane Handling and Storage, under the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000) and are approved by the regulatory authority with jurisdiction (i.e. the Technical Standards and Safety Authority [TSSA]) do not require a PSR.

Do ovens require a PSR?

A PSR is not required if certain conditions are met. An oven used in a process that does not involve the risk of ignition or explosion, and that does not produce a substance that may result in the exposure of a worker in excess of any occupational exposure limits (for example, as set out in Regulation 833, Control of Exposure to Biological or Chemical Agents; or O. Reg. 490/09, Designated Substances) may not be subject to PSR requirements. However, other OHSA requirements apply to ovens and the device must be designed and installed in compliance with the applicable legislation and standards (e.g. O. Reg. 220/01 Boiler and Pressure Vessels, O. Reg. 211/01 Propane Handling and Storage, etc.) and is approved by the regulatory authority with jurisdiction (e.g. the Technical Standards and Safety Authority [TSSA], the Electrical Standards Authority [ESA], etc.). The employer should keep all relevant documentation should an inspector request to see it.

Is a PSR required in a water treatment plant (drinking water) or a wastewater treatment plant (sewage)?

Yes. Generally, the Regulation for Industrial Establishments (Regulation 851) applies to all industrial establishments (section 3), and PSR requirements apply to all factories other than logging operations. Water treatment plants fall within the statutory definition of factory in the OHSA.

Wastewater treatment plants, however, must be assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine if the facility falls within the definition of "factory" in the OHSA.

In addition to PSR requirements, employers are required by OHSA to take every reasonable precaution in the circumstances for the protection of a worker [see clause 25 (2)(h)].

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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.