Compliance management is a fact of life when running a business, and being proactive can mean the difference between a good day at the dealership or a stop work order that could disrupt the business significantly.
Dealerships and Service Centres have a wide variety of legislative obligations at both the Federal and Provincial level. The most commonly known legislative obligation (although it is certainly not the only one) is for a Health & Safety program that all businesses are required to have.
Provincial Ministry of Labour inspectors are empowered to visit any workplace and ensure that Occupational Health & Safety laws are being followed. There are generally 2 ways in which your dealership or service centre can be visited. First, an employee or consumer could lodge a complaint to the Ministry regarding concerns, or the MOL may visit during an inspection blitz, which occur throughout the year and focus on a variety of topics and issues.
Currently in Ontario, the MOL is conducting a New and Young Worker blitz as they generally do each summer. Blitzes might focus on other topics as well such as Slips, Trips, and Fall Hazards, Machine Guarding, or Material Handling for example. Their focus is to ensure that employers and supervisors are following the requirements of the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) and to ensure that the appropriate programs, training, and internal inspections are occurring.
In virtually all blitzes, automotive dealerships and service centres are visited by ministry inspectors, and invariably they find infractions for which they write orders.
In each of the last four blitzes 100+ dealerships/service centres were visited, and in each blitz, over 300 orders were issued, including a number of full Stop Work Orders. No dealership wants to have orders issued against them as it affects the day to day operations of the business and is simply a headache nobody needs.
So how can you reduce the risk of issues during Ministry Inspections? Here are a few tips:
1. Ensure you have your compliance programs in place, including your Internal Responsibility System.
2. Have all required polices in place and ensure that your staff have acknowledged them. Having policies that nobody knows about isn’t worth the paper they are written on.
3. Ensure you have provided workplace specific safety training. In most workplaces, and especially in the automotive sector, this goes well beyond basic WHMIS training.
4. Have your records in order so that in the event you are inspected, you can easily show the inspector to speed up their inspection process
It’s a lot less expensive and time consuming to be proactive. If you have to scramble to be in compliance it can have lasting negative effects on your dealership. Essentially, get your “stuff” in order and it will be a lot easier for you moving forward.
It’s true that managing compliance at a dealership is a very time consuming and paper based process if you do it properly, but it is something that must be done.
Solutions such as DealerPILOT take the pain and paperwork out of all legislative compliance programs, including Health &Safety, leaving more time for you to serve your customers. If you’re looking to improve your compliance and streamline HR, while at the same time eliminating the effort and associated paperwork, consider looking into an automation solution.