By Jenn Watt
Published April 24
By July 1 residents in Haliburton County will be able to go online to find information on health inspection results from restaurants hair and beauty salons and recreational water facilities.
Responding to new requirements from the province Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit is developing HKPR CheckINspection which is a website that will contain two years’ worth of inspection results as well as the business location and type of operation.
“The new rules coming into effect on July 1 will increase awareness about inspection results (including business closures) since all health unit inspection reports going back to the start of this year (Jan. 1 2018) will be posted on a new public website” said Richard Ovcharovich manager of environmental health with the HKPR Health Unit via email.
“Inspection reports for a business from the previous two years will stay online so there will be a history of past inspections – not just the most recent one – that local residents can access.”
Currently the only way a member of the public can find records of health inspections is to contact the health unit.
“We don’t get a lot [of inquiries] right now but people can contact the health unit to ask for current inspection reports for any business” Ovcharovich said.
The new rules are supposed to allow members of the public to make “safe and informed choices” when choosing where to shop. For businesses the benefits include “showing customers that a business cares about protecting their health.”
As inspectors visit businesses they are informing them of the change and there have been drop-in sessions in Lindsay Port Hope and Haliburton. Business owners can also call the health unit if they have questions.
“Most of the feedback we’ve heard so far from affected businesses is seeking clarification or more background on what will be required of them” Ovcharovich said.
Health inspectors check restaurants and other food establishments for hand washing cooking at proper temperatures and cleanliness throughout. Frequency of visits is based on the risk level of a business. For example a full-service restaurant is considered high-risk and is inspected every four months. A low-risk food establishment such as a convenience store is inspected once a year.
In beauty or body art establishments inspectors check that anything used to pierce the ear is sterilized that reusable instruments are disinfected and that items like scalpels or needles are safely disposed Ovcharovich said. Those businesses are inspected once a year at least.
Water facilities include indoor and outdoor public pools and hot tubs splash pads water slides and wading pools. They are inspected to ensure the water is the proper temperature and clarity and has proper chemistry that proper signage and emergency equipment is present and in good working order.
Ovcharovich said there is no warning given to businesses when an inspector is coming and that while the health unit works with businesses to help them understand the regulations offering advice “their biggest task and responsibility is to ensure the public’s health is protected.”
“They can issue warnings write tickets issue compliance orders or closure orders if there is a significant risk to the public. When closure orders are issued businesses must stay closed until all health hazards are fixed and confirmed to be in compliance by a public health inspector” he said.
More information about the new website will be available closer to the launch date.