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Heightened Enforcement Campaign Results: Vehicle Body Repair Facilities In Southern Ontario

Safe At Work Ontario
  • Issued: June 2010
  • Content last reviewed: June 2010

Note: Although workplace inspection blitzes by the ministry are announced to the appropriate sectors in advance, individual workplaces receive no prior warning.

Ministry of Labour workplace health and safety inspectors have recently visited more than 800 vehicle body repair workplaces in York, Durham and Peel Regions, Dufferin and Simcoe Counties, and Toronto.

Inspection focus

During the six-month heightened enforcement initiative, which ended in March 2010, inspectors focused on hazards involving:

  • designated substances such as isocyanates and lead (The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) allows toxic substances to be "designated," and their use prohibited or strictly controlled.)
  • hazardous chemicals, including flammable liquids, paints, solvents, and thinners
  • storage and dispensing of flammable liquids
  • lifting devices such as hoists, forklift trucks and portable jacks, and
  • worker training in health and safety (e.g., understanding the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System and the correct use of personal protective equipment).

Inspectors also checked auto body repairers’ certificates of qualification.

Inspection activity

Inspectors conducted 1531 inspections and follow-up checks of vehicle body repair workplaces, and issued more than 3300 orders, including 77 stop work orders.

Ministry employment standards officers accompanied inspectors on visits to 46 premises and issued 29 orders to employers to comply with the Employment Standards Act.

Order analysis

Almost 500 orders were issued under the OHSA for failing to have lifting devices thoroughly examined by a competent person.

Other frequently issued compliance orders involved employers’ duty to:

  • post a copy of the OHSA in the workplace
  • obtain from suppliers the material safety data sheets for controlled products used or stored in the workplace, and
  • maintain equipment in good condition.

Compliance help for employers

The ministry partnered with the Ontario Service Safety Alliance and Collision Industry Information Assistance to host three evening information sessions for Toronto-area employers.

Presentations outlined the focus of the inspection initiative and answered many health and safety questions. The sessions informed vehicle body repair shop owners and workers about resources to help them to comply with the legislation governing the industry.

Employers were also provided with information on how to comply with:

  • employment standards
  • environmental regulations, and
  • apprenticeship regulations.

In addition, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board representatives provided advice on managing accident insurance premiums.

Workplace inspection campaigns

Heightened enforcement inspection campaigns raise awareness of known workplace hazards and promote compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its safety regulations.

Inspection campaigns are part of the province’s Safe At Work Ontario compliance strategy. In selecting workplaces for proactive inspections, the ministry uses predictive indicators such as inherent hazards and poor records of compliance with safety regulations.

Inspectors’ findings determine their subsequent level of engagement and frequency of inspections of individual workplaces. Inspectors often refer employers to health and safety associations for compliance assistance and training.

Next steps

Between September 2010 and March 2011, ministry inspectors will return to about 500 auto body shops that were inspected during this initiative. They will be checking to ensure employers have maintained compliance.

Resources for employers

The vehicle body repair industry is subject to regulation by provincial, municipal and federal governments. The online Auto Body Repair Compliance Information Centre provides “one-stop shopping” regulatory information for vehicle repair shop owners.

Inspectors often refer employers to health and safety associations for compliance assistance and training. Resources to help employers meet their obligations under the OHSA are available free from the Ontario Service Safety Alliance and Collision Industry Information and Assistance.