Safe at Work Ontario is the Ministry of Labour’s (MOL) strategy for enforcing compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the “Act”) by employers across the province. As stated on the MOL website, “Safe At Work Ontario is designed to:
- · improve the health and safety culture of workplaces,
- · reduce workplace injuries and illness,
- · lessen the burden on the health care system,
- · avoid costs for employers and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), and
- · provide a level playing field for compliant companies”.
Part of this strategy includes launching targeted blitzes in workplaces across the province. As outlined on the MOL website, “the ministry identifies and inspects workplaces according to a variety of factors as listed below:
- · injury rates and associated costs;
- · compliance history;
- · hazards inherent to the work;
- · new businesses;
- · size of businesses;
- · specific events or incidents (e.g., critical injuries or fatal injuries, or injuries due to violence), and
- · the presence of new and⁄or vulnerable workers”.
On August 22, 2012, the Ministry announced the implementation of targeted safety blitzes to occur this fall. As stated in the press release, “the timing and focus of the blitzes are as follows:
- September - October 2012 -- supervision at construction sites.
- October - November 2012 -- machine guarding hazards and repetitive strain injuries in manufacturing and industrial workplaces.
- October - November 2012 -- Infection Prevention and Control in health care workplaces.
- November - December 2012 --transfer of ore in underground mines”.
The MOL website reminds employers that “during blitzes, inspectors will check on the condition and maintenance of safety equipment, worker training, the use of safety equipment and other potential health and safety hazards so as to help prevent workplace injuries”. Please note that in performing these blitzes, orders and charges under the Act may be used where appropriate to enforce compliance.
Please contact Margaret Bramhill for further information about employer compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Margaret Bramhill is an employment lawyer with the law firm of Dale & Lessmann LLP in Toronto. Margaret has particular expertise advising employers on compliance issues relating to employment standards, as well as occupational health and safety issues in Ontario. To speak with Margaret, please call 416-369-7818 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org