This part of the Directive enhances and supplements Part II of the Code [] and Part II (Permanent Structures) [] and Part XVII (Safe Occupancy of the Workplace) [] of the COHSR and should be read in that context.

2.1 Workplace Ergonomics

2.1.1 The requirements specified in the most current version of the National Building Code [] shall be applied at every workplace occupied by employees.

2.1.2 The employer shall consult the appropriate policy/workplace committee or health and safety representative in the planning of the implementation and in the implementation of changes as it relates to workplace ergonomics, including the provision of space allocation, particularly when new or renovated office occupancy is planned. OHS committees and/or representatives will be provided with a copy of the planned and retained floor plan.

2.1.3 To the extent practicable, workplace environments, including workstations, shall conform to the requirements specified in the appropriate standard relating to workplace ergonomics.

2.1.4 Ergonomic assessments shall be performed by a qualified person. Any recommendations from that assessment, approved by the employer, shall be implemented in a timely manner.

2.1.5 If either the employer or the employee disagrees with any recommendations made by the qualified person, they shall submit the rationale for their disagreement to the other party, in writing, within 30 calendar days of receiving the recommendations.

2.1.6 A qualified person shall also be involved in the design and redesign of work systems with attention to providing optimal working conditions for human well-being, safety and health.

2.1.7 The organization shall communicate information about its commitment to, and development of, the Ergonomics Process and the progress of the implementation plan to all affected levels of the organization. OHS committees or health and safety representatives should be used as one of the forums for this communication.

2.1.8 The employer shall receive, document and respond appropriately and in a timely manner to internal and external communications, including concerns, hazards, ideas and input of workers and worker representatives regarding ergonomics and the process.

2.1.9 The employer shall define training requirements and provide training, conducted by a qualified person, for all employees, which identifies hazards and risks, including those associated with the introduction of changes in the workplace, which can be addressed through the use of the Ergonomics Process, such as safe use of tools/equipment and safe work procedures applicable to one’s job. Training offered shall be documented, evaluated by participants and include refresher or re-training sessions, as required.

2.2 Environmental Conditions for Office Space

2.2.1 To the extent practicable, the environmental conditions to be maintained in office buildings shall conform to the requirements specified in the appropriate standard.

2.2.2 In office accommodations, air (dry bulb) temperatures during working hours should be maintained within the ideal temperature range of 20oC to 26oC range. Temperatures between 17oC and 20oC and above 26oC can be uncomfortable, and occupancy should not exceed one hour daily or 40 hours annually in each of these extremes. Temperatures above 26oC are deemed uncomfortable when the humidex reading (Appendix A) at a given temperature equals 40oC or less. It is recognized that temperatures between 30oC to 39oC represent significant discomfort; temperatures between 40oC to 45oC represent great discomfort and exertion should be avoided; temperatures above 45oC are dangerous; and temperatures above 54oC provide a situation where a heat stroke is imminent.

2.2.3 Temperatures shall be measured at the desktop level in those spaces within workstations that employees occupy while carrying out the majority of their normal duties.

2.2.4 With respect to the uncomfortable range of temperatures described earlier, the employer is responsible for taking appropriate action to ensure that environmental conditions do not subject employees to undue stress or discomfort. Any corrective measures shall be shared with the health and safety committee. If the employer has not resolved a problem adequately, an emergency meeting of the workplace committee shall be convened following a request by either party of the committee. Corrective measures to be considered include, among others, increasing the frequency of rest periods and temporarily relocating employees to workstations outside the affected area.

2.2.5 For the purposes of subsection 2.2.2, it shall not be intentionally permitted for conditions to enter the marginal zones of 17oC to 20oC and 26oC to 29oC. Such conditions should result only from occurrences over which employers have no direct control, such as weather extremes or equipment failures.

2.2.6 If the dry bulb temperature reference in subsections 2.2.2 and 2.2.3 fall outside the acceptable range, the employer is responsible in consultation with the workplace health and safety committee or health and safety representative for taking appropriate action.

2.3 Hot Surfaces

2.3.1 Steam and hot water pipes, heaters, and any other hot surfaces with surface temperatures that could injure a person through bodily contact shall be guarded or covered in such a manner as to prevent such direct contact. When asbestos lagging is used for insulation purposes, the requirements contained in the appropriate standard shall be followed and affected employees must be informed.

2.4 Open-top Bins, Hoppers, Vats and Pits

2.4.1 When, due to the temporary removal of any cover, an opening is created into which persons may fall, barriers shall be securely placed around the opening to protect and warn persons of the hazard.

2.5 Ladders, Stairways and Ramps

2.5.1 Every ramp, walkway, platform or safety landing shall be fitted with railings and guards as recommended in the appropriate standard.

2.5.2 A fixed ladder that is more than six metres in length shall be fixed with a cage, starting at two metres above the base level of the ladder, such that it will catch an employee who loses his or her grip and falls backwards or sideways off the ladder.

2.5.3 A fixed ladder that is more than nine metres in length shall have, at intervals of not more than six metres, a landing or platform that:

  1. is at least 0.36 m2 in area; and
  2. is fitted with a guardrail at its outer edges.

2.5.4 A fixed ladder shall be:

  1. vertical;
  2. securely held in place at the top and bottom and at intermediate points not more than three metres apart; and
  3. fitted with
    1. rungs that are at least 15 cm from the wall and spaced at intervals not exceeding 30 cm, and
    2. side rails that extend not less than 90 cm above the landing or platform.

2.5.5 Every ramp shall have the minimum slope reasonable for the purpose for which it is used. In no case shall the gradient exceed:

  1. the safe gradient recommended by the manufacturer of mobile equipment used on the ramp; or
  2. a lesser gradient that is safe, considering the mechanical condition of mobile equipment used on the ramp, the weight of the loads transported and the condition of the ramp surface.

2.6 Housekeeping and Maintenance

2.6.1 Nothing shall be left or stored in any passageway or travelled area in a manner that may endanger the health and safety of persons or the safe operation of vehicles moving through that passageway or area.

2.6.2 Where necessary, including when the requirement arises from a recommendation of the workplace committee or the health and safety representative (as applicable), protection shall be provided from dangerous accumulations of ice which may fall from overhead structures.

2.6.3 Electrical power vaults, switch and generator rooms or enclosures, and other similarly dangerous areas shall be properly identified and kept locked or otherwise made inaccessible except to authorized persons who are qualified to safely enter or perform work in those areas.

2.6.4 Every building shall be kept in a state of repair and maintenance that does not endanger the health and safety of any employee. This includes fully functional security cameras, motion sensor lights and/or all other security measures recommended in a risk threat assessment.

2.6.5 The employer shall notify all employees in advance of any planned interruption of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) in the workplace.