Safety InfoLine

Who are we?

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) is Canada's national resource for workplace health and safety information. CCOHS’ Inquiries & Client Services (ICS) answers questions on the many health or safety concerns people have about the work they do.

ICS is a free person-to-person information service available to all Canadians, and has been for over 30 years. Anyone can submit a question to our Inquiry Officers in three easy formats – through our informative question and answer-style fact sheets, OSH Answers; via e-mail; and by our traditional person-to-person telephone/mail information service.

Written answers are generally sent to the inquirers through e-mail to make it easier to share the information with co-workers, joint health and safety committee members, physicians, etc., or to have written documentation for other purposes.

What do we do?

We help you gather information on workplace health and safety so that you can make informed decisions about specific issues in the workplace. The information, for example, can enable you to identify hazards, take action to prevent injuries, or to control conditions that may affect the health of yourself and other workers.

Inquiries are answered by a team of CCOHS specialists with expertise in occupational health and safety, and information retrieval. This team has access to all of the CCOHS technical expertise, publications, databases and computerized information sources, in addition to an extensive library containing specialized journals, books and microfiche collections.

We answer questions with information at a level that meets the needs of the inquirer. All responses are reviewed by subject specialists before they are sent to the inquirers.

Who can ask for information?

ICS is available to all Canadians in English and French. A wide range of people use the service including workers, families of workers, employers, health and safety professionals and government officials. The information is provided free-of-charge and the service is confidential - we do not reveal the names of our inquirers to anyone or any agency.

This service is primarily for Canadians because it is funded by government agencies across Canada, but we also serve those around the world in need of answers to their occupational health and safety (OHS) questions.

How long will it take to get an answer?

To be fair to all inquirers, all requests are put in the same queue and are generally answered in order of receipt. We say "generally" because many questions may have pre-prepared responses that we can process quickly, whereas other questions may require individualized research before they can be answered.

Some answers go out the same day they are received but others can take longer to answer – up to two weeks. The response times vary depending on the complexity of the questions, the availability of pre-prepared answers, the amount of customized literature research required and various other factors.

While we strive to minimize response times, it’s not always possible to provide answers quickly because of:

  • the large number of questions we receive,
  • the amount of research required to answer individual questions, and
  • the quality assurance procedures that we follow to ensure that the answers are accurate, unbiased and up-to-date.

While we endeavour to provide the information in a timely fashion, ICS is not an emergency response service. Inquirers will be referred to other, more appropriate agencies or organizations if ICS cannot provide the immediate response requested.

How to contact ICS?

You can reach ICS via:

The Inquiries & Client Services Online Form

Our OSH Answers Fact Sheets

Telephone or Fax

1 (800) 668-4284 (Toll free in Canada only)
1 (905) 570-8094 (8:30 AM and 5:00 PM Eastern Time)
1 (905) 572-4500 (FAX)

Postal Mail:

Inquiries & Client Services
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)
135 Hunter Street East
Hamilton ON L8N 1M5