Workplace Safety

Inspectors in this unit group evaluate and monitor health and safety hazards and develop strategies to control risks in the workplace. They inspect restaurants, public facilities, industrial establishments, municipal water systems and other workplaces to ensure compliance with government regulations regarding sanitation, pollution control, the handling and storage of hazardous substances and workplace safety. They are employed throughout the private and public sectors. 

    Traits and Talents

    The role of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Professional includes advising management on the establishment and implementation of occupational health and safety management systems. It is one which requires a diplomatic approach i.e. one must work through others to achieve health and safety objectives. An advisory approach works best in consultation with the various workplace stakeholders. The advice which the Occupational Health and Safety Professional provides and the job he/she performs will impact the health and safety of employees. The team approach often works best in this type of work environment.

    The Occupational Health and Safety discipline frequently places OHS Professionals in situations where they are required to make important decisions with many constraints. Problem-solving skills must be applied on a regular basis. OHS Professionals must possess a high level of knowledge and skill in the development and implementation of programs, systems, procedures and techniques to reduce and eliminate losses associated with accidents and occupational disease.

    Education and Training

    • A bachelor’s degree or college diploma in a discipline such as food science, environmental studies, chemistry or health and safety is usually required. 
    • In some establishments, several years of related work experience and the completion of in-house training courses may substitute for formal education. 
    • Public health inspectors employed outside Quebec require certification with the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors. 
    • Occupational health and safety officers may require certification with the Association for Canadian Registered Safety Professionals. 
    • For industrial related health officers, completion of secondary school is required. A college diploma in construction, civil engineering or architectural technology plus several years of related work experience or several years of experience as a qualified tradesperson in a construction trade, such as plumbing, carpentry or electrical trade are required. Provincial certification in a skilled trade or as an engineering technologist is usually required. 
    • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is offered by the Canada Green Building Council and may be required by some employers.

    The Workplace

    Industrial related health and safety inspectors perform some or all of the following duties: 

    • Inspect the sanitary conditions of restaurants, hotels, schools, hospitals and other public facilities or institutions 
    • Conduct surveys and monitoring programs of the natural environment to identify sources of pollution 
    • Collect samples of water for analysis; measure physical, biological and chemical workplace hazards; and conduct safety and environmental audits 
    • Investigate health and safety related complaints, spills of hazardous chemicals, outbreaks of diseases or poisonings and workplace accidents 
    • nspect workplaces to ensure that equipment, materials and production processes do not present a safety or health hazard to employees or to the general public 
    • Develop, implement and evaluate health and safety programs and strategies 
    • Initiate enforcement procedures to fine or to close an establishment contravening municipal, provincial or federal regulations 
    • Provide consultation and deliver training programs to employers, employees and the general public on issues of public health, environmental protection or workplace safety. 
    • Examine plans, drawings, and site layouts for new buildings, building renovations and other proposed structures 
    • Inspect construction of buildings, bridges, dams, highways and other types of building and engineering construction for conformance to drawings, specifications, building codes or other applicable ordinances 
    • Inspect and test electrical or plumbing installations in buildings to ensure compliance with municipal, provincial and federal regulations Inspect steel framework, concrete forms, reinforcing steel mesh and rods, concrete or pre-stressed concrete to ensure quality standards and to verify conformance to specifications and building codes
    • Inspect construction of sewer systems and pipelines 
    • Inspect construction sites to ensure that safe working conditions are maintained 
    • Inspect existing buildings to identify and report on structural defects, fire hazards and other threats to safety 
    • Inspect new or resale homes on behalf of clients and assess and provide reports on the physical condition of property

    Skills for Success

    The key Skills for Success for this career path are:

    • Communication
    • Problem Solving
    • Writing

    Sample Job Titles

    • Health officer 
    • Health inspector 
    • Health and safety officer 
    • Occupational health and safety officer 
    • Public health inspector 
    • Water inspector 
    • Environmental health inspector 
    • Construction inspector 
    • Home inspector  

    Companies and Sectors

    • Federal, provincial and municipal government
    • Manufacturing plants
    • Mining companies
    • Construction companies
    • Environmental agencies
    • Self-employed (consultant)
    • Housing companies
    • Water inspection agencies