Health and Safety Processes

May 29, 2024

We talk a lot about the importance of safety at NOTL Hydro.  Hopefully, our practices demonstrate that this is not just words but intent.  The following is a high-level summary of the various health and safety activities at NOTL Hydro.

Internal Responsibility System (IRS)

The IRS is a system, recommended by the Government of Ontario and by most health and safety practitioners, that recognizes that the responsibility for Health and Safety rests with all employees and not just management, Health and Safety staff or the JHSC.  NOTL Hydro practices IRS and tries to reinforce it through all its activities.

Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC)

NOTL Hydro has had an active JHSC for over ten years, even though for most of this time it was not a legal requirement as the workforce was less than 20 staff.  The JHSC meets regularly and is compliant with all its legislative requirements.  The members of the JHSC are two representatives from the management team and two representatives from the unionized staff.  The Health and Safety Consultant, also participates in the meetings.  Minutes of the JHSC meetings are saved on the company directory available to all staff.

Health and Safety Consultant

Since 2015, NOTL Hydro has had a part-time Health and Safety consultant on staff.  This consultant conducts regular (usually monthly) health and safety meetings, performs site visits and keeps NOTL Hydro abreast of industry health and safety developments.  The current Health and Safety Consultant is a former lineman and employee of the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (ISHA) who now runs his own consulting business.

Monthly Operations Safety Meetings

Most months a Health and Safety meeting is held, attended by Operations staff and NOTL Hydro executives.  The meeting is rarely yet occasionally cancelled due to timing conflicts.  Typical agenda items include reviewing any recent incidents at NOTL Hydro, reviewing any significant incidents in the industry, reviewing Safe Work Practices (SWPs), reviewing sections of the Ontario Occupational Health & Safety Act and Regulations, reviewing related sections of the Electrical Utility Safety Rules and/or reviewing any equipment issues and developments.  In 2024, NOTL Hydro subscribed to Bolt Video.  Bolt Video is a company that has a catalogue of 57 electricity distribution related safety videos.  The videos are incorporated into safety meetings when paired with SWP or rule reviews.   NOTL Hydro operations staff participate in the creation of new videos with industry colleagues twice a year.

Health and Safety meeting for non-operational staff are held annually.

Safe Work Practices (SWPs)

NOTL Hydro has 40 SWPs that detail specific procedures that require this level of detail and are not sufficiently covered in the OSHA and IHSA rules and regulations.  The SWPs are available on the tablets that are carried on the bucket trucks and diggers.

Daily Procedures

Health and safety processes are part of the daily procedures of operational staff.  These processes include equipment inspections each morning and tailboard meetings at job sites prior to commencing work.  These processes are documented digitally, approved by the supervisor and maintained in a log.

The Operations Supervisor officiates the morning meeting with Lead Hands to review work progress from the previous day, deliver current workday assignments, discuss expectations, identify potential hazards and solicit feedback from the crews. 

At the beginning of every work shift, crew members congregate and stretch for twenty minutes prior to beginning field work.  Stretching brings crew members together simultaneously and helps mitigate potential injuries at work and life.

The Operations Supervisor visits crews daily and performs formal crew appraisals several times a month that are documented and logged electronically.  The safety consultant performs similar crew evaluations monthly as part of the safety meeting process.


A training spreadsheet is maintained by the VP Finance that documents all the Health and Safety training staff have received.  This spreadsheet is reviewed regularly by the JHSC and Management to ensure training meets all regulatory and best practice requirements.

Health and Safety Board

A Health and Safety Board is maintained in the operations corridor that provides details on the IRS, the Environmental Health and Safety Policy, the JHSC and government regulations.

Annual Environmental Health and Safety Policy

The Environmental Health and Safety Policy is updated annually, signed by the President of NOTL Hydro and kept on display on the Health and Safety Board.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs, relating to Health and Safety incidents, are tracked and reviewed by the Board of NOTL Hydro monthly.  While these only provide a snapshot of the results of the Health and Safety efforts, and not the process, they do stress the importance of Health and Safety to NOTL Hydro.

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