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Applicable Regulations, Codes and Standards

  • 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.

For the purpose of these guidelines, the term “standards” includes standards, codes and other legislation.

The Industrial Establishments Regulation is, to a large measure, a performance-based standard. This means that the regulation defines what level of protection is to be provided and the objective to be achieved, but does not state how to achieve the required level of protection.

The provisions and circumstances of section 7 of the regulation listed in the section 7 table act as triggers to determine whether a pre-start health and safety review (PSR) is required.

To comply with the requirements of section 7, it is necessary to refer to other recognized applicable detailed codes and standards, such as the Ontario Fire Code, National Fire Code, NFPA codes and standards, CSA codes and standards, ANSI standards, etc.

Appendix I provides a partial list of current applicable standards that the reviewer may use in completing a PSR. Standards that are flagged with an asterisk have been reviewed by Ministry of Labour engineers and are accepted by the Ministry of Labour as good engineering practice needed to comply with section 7 of the Industrial Establishments Regulation, and are considered “current applicable standards” for exemption from the PSR requirements.

In relying on a standard for exemption, the reviewer must consider the applicable sections of the current applicable standards. The same principle may apply when using a standard to support compliance.

Standards not flagged with an asterisk, or that are not listed in these guidelines require additional review or assessment to ensure compliance adherence to them would satisfy all the requirements of the regulation that are listed in the section 7 table before they can be used for exemption from the PSR requirements (see Appendix I: Recognized Standards for acronyms and full names of standards, including codes).

Some examples of standards legislated in Ontario are shown in (1) below, and some of the standards shown in (2) are listed in Appendix I as meeting the intent for compliance with other sections of the section 7 regulation that are not specific to the PSR process.

  1. Examples of Ontario prescribed standards:
  2. Examples of Canadian, North American, European and world standards:
    • National Fire Code
    • National Building Code
    • CSA—International standards
    • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards
    • American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) guidelines
    • American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards
    • American Petroleum Institute (API) standards
    • International Standards Organisation (ISO) standards
    • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards
    • European Norm (EN) standards

What if “current applicable standards” change in five years—would another pre-start health and safety review be required?

No. A PSR is required only when a new apparatus, structure, protective element or a new process is constructed, added or installed, or when the apparatus, structure, protective element or process is modified.

If an applicable standard is amended or changed, a PSR would not be required so long as the apparatus, structure, protective element or process were not newly installed or modified.

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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.