General Procedures in Investigating a Health Hazard Complaint

Policy

Category: Health Hazard Prevention and Management
Subject: General Procedures in Investigating a Health Hazard Complaint
Division: N/A
Policy Number: CA.84.01.101
Effective Date: Apr. 1996

POLICY STATEMENT

It is the policy of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health to prevent or reduce the burden of illness from health hazards and decrease heath outcomes from exposures through surveillance, epidemiological investigation, education, consultation, evaluation and regulatory enforcement, in accordance with the most current version of the Health Hazard and Prevention Protocol the Risk Assessment and Inspection of Facilities Protocol, and the Identification, Investigation and Management of Health Hazards Protocol under the Ontario Public Health Standards and the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

REFERENCES AND RELATED FORMS, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

CA.84.02.101  General Procedures in Investigating a Health Hazard Complaint
Health Hazard and Prevention Protocol
Risk Assessment and Inspection of Facilities Protocol
Identification, Investigation and Management of Health Hazards Protocol
Ontario Public Health Standards
Health Protection and Promotion Act.

APPROVED BY

Rob Thompson 


Procedure

Category: Health Hazard Prevention and Management
Subject: General Procedures in Investigating a Health Hazard Complaint
Division: N/A
Procedure Number: CA.84.02.101
Effective Date: Apr. 1996

PROCEDURE

  1. Investigation of a Health Hazard complaint is to be based on a risk assessment approach.  The Risk Assessment and Inspection of Facilities Protocol, and the Identification, Investigation and Management of Health Hazards Protocol under the Ontario Public Health Standards should be followed.
  2. An initial response is to be made within 24 hours or one working day of receiving the complaint.
  3. Appropriate follow up can occur after the initial response time of 24 hours has been met.
  4. All health hazard complaints received by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) should be recorded in Hedgehog as a CSR complaint and all pertinent information must be captured.  
  5. The person making the complaint must provide their name and/or contact information so the investigating inspector can follow up to report the outcome of the investigation.  Anonymous complaints are not investigated recommended and approved by the Program Manager.
  6. Documentation of the complaint by the investigating inspector is very important and may include photographs in conjunction with detailed notes including appropriate contacts, contact information and all the key individuals involved in the matter.  Staff must follow the most current version of the WDGPH documentation policy.  Complaint validity should be determined at inspection. 
  7. Responses to a complainant should be made in like kind.  A telephone complaint should elicit a telephone call with the outcome of the investigation.  A written complaint should elicit a written response.
  8. When health hazard complaints are resolved or no further action is warranted completed documentation should be reviewed and signed by the Program Manager before filing.
  9. When a Public Health Inspector (PHI) is of the opinion, upon reasonable and probable grounds, that a health hazard exists, as defined in the Health Protection and Promotion Act, an order may be issued to abate the health hazard. A verbal and/or written order shall be issued by a PHI for the item(s) in question. The PHI will set out the timeframe for compliance with the order. The premise may be closed at any time if deemed necessary by the PHI. Program Manager should be consulted when a PHI recommends closure.
  10. Review with the owner/operator or staff member present and the details of the order.  Ensure that the owner/operator understands that failure to comply with the order can result in a charge under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. Also ensure the owner/operator is aware they have the right to appeal and the procedure they are to take if they wish to appeal the order.

A sample order is attached.

 

REFERENCES AND RELATED FORMS, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

CA.84.01.101  General Procedures in Investigating a Health Hazard Complaint
Risk Assessment and Inspection of Facilities Protocol
Identification, Investigation and Management of Health Hazards Protocol
Health Protection and Promotion Act.

APPROVED BY

Rob Thompson