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New licensing requirements will increase industrial safety: PEO


January 25, 2013
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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The Ontario government has approved a change to the Professional Engineers Act that will remove the “industrial exception,” a move that the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) says will improve workplace safety.

The change will be effective as of March 1, 2013, and it means those responsible for professional engineering work in relation to production machinery or equipment must be licensed by Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO).

In addition, Ontario has also approved a regulatory provision to help employers make the transition to the new requirement. Under this regulation, employers who file a transition plan with PEO by March 1 will have up to one year to meet the requirement.

With the repeal of section 12(3)(a) of the Professional Engineers Act, individuals must now be licensed by PEO if they do any act within the practice of professional engineering on machinery or equipment used to produce products for their employer in their employer’s facility.

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In 1984, when the exception was enacted, requirements existed for Ontario’s Ministry of Labour engineers to approve predevelopment reviews of proposed industrial processes and associated equipment. This requirement was replaced by Regulation 851 under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which introduced the current requirement for industry to have professional engineers approve Pre-Start Health and Safety Reviews (PSRs) prior to the start-up of newly installed or altered production equipment or machinery. If a PSR finds deficiencies in the setup of equipment or machinery, the equipment or machinery cannot be used until the necessary changes are made and a PSR approved.

“Repealing the industrial exception brings professional engineering in again at the beginning of the production process development cycle, so that the requirements under the Professional Engineers Act support and complement the requirements and intent of the PSR process,” said Michael Price, P.Eng., MBA, FEC, acting chief executive officer and registrar of PEO, in a statement.

“Engineering is regulated to serve and protect the public interest, and professional engineers are accountable to PEO for doing just that by maintaining a high quality in their work and also by considering its overall implications. Bringing this mindset into the design of the production process should be cost-effective for industry by lessening workplace illness or injury and associated workplace insurance claims, and minimizing retrofitting, downtime and equipment replacement.”

Under the new section 88 of Regulation 941/90 that enables industry to transition to the new requirement, companies that file a compliance plan with PEO before March 1, 2013 will be provided up to one year to meet the new requirement.