OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 2 Hazard Assessment, Elimination and Control

Section 10 emergency control of hazard

Subsection 10(1) Comptent workers, minimize number

This section applies in situations where emergency action is required to control or eliminate a hazard that is dangerous to the safety or health of workers. Only those workers competent in correcting the hazardous condition may be exposed to the hazard. The number of these exposed workers must be kept to a minimum – as few as is necessary to correct the condition. The employer must make every possible effort to control the hazard while this is being done.

As an example, a piping system in a building fails, releasing a toxic gas. Twelve workers are at the work site, six of whom are trained in the use of self-contained breathing apparatus and are capable of initiating a repair or shutdown. Of these six competent workers, only three are required to actually perform the repair or shutdown. As a result, only three of the 12 workers are allowed to enter the building and be exposed to the hazard. Prior to and during the entry, every possible effort must be made to reduce the flow or production of gas before it reaches the building, and to limit exposure to other workers in the vicinity of the building.

Subsection 10(2) Emergency response

This subsection reflects the practical reality that during an emergency response, it is impractical (and may be impossible) to prepare a written hazard assessment report. The subsection waives an employer’s obligation to comply with subsections 7(2) and 7(3) during the period that emergency action is required.