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Results: New and Young Workers Blitz 2015

Safe At Work Ontario
  • Issued: December 16, 2015
  • Content last reviewed: December 2015

New and young workers in Ontario are three times more likely to be injured during their first month on the job than at any other time.

From May 1 to August 31, 2015, Ministry of Labour inspectors conducted a health and safety enforcement blitz in the industrial sector focusing on:

  • young workers aged 14 to 24 and
  • new workers[1] who were on the job for less than six months or assigned to a new job

Inspectors checked that employers were complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations.

The goals of the blitz were to:

  • ensure employers advise new and young workers of hazards in the workplace
  • raise awareness of the OHSA rights and responsibilities for new and young workers
  • encourage employers to identify and control hazards
  • address and remedy non-compliance with the OHSA and its regulations
  • deter non-compliant employers
  • enhance health and safety partnerships
  • promote improved health and safety for new and young workers

Report summary

Between 2009 and 2014, 15 young workers aged 15 to 24 years were fatally injured in Ontario workplaces, according to Ministry of Labour statistics.

From May 1 to August 31, 2015, ministry inspectors conducted 3,396 visits to 2,704 workplaces and issued 11,470 orders[2] under the OHSA and its regulations. This included 209 stop work orders. Some of the workplaces were visited several times.

On average, 3.38 orders were issued during each workplace visit.

Three frequently issued OHSA orders involved employers’ failure to:

  • post an OHSA copy in the workplace (section 25(2)(i)) – 709 orders or 6.2 per cent
  • maintain equipment in good condition (section 25(1)(b)) – 626 orders or 5.5 per cent
  • take reasonable precautions to protect workers’ health and safety (section 25(2)(h)) – 507 orders or 4.4 per cent

Full report

Workplace inspection blitzes

Inspection blitzes are part of the province's Safe At Work Ontario compliance strategy. They are announced to the sector by the ministry in advance although individual workplaces to be visited by inspectors are not identified in advance. Results are posted on the ministry's website.

The blitzes raise awareness of known workplace hazards and are intended to promote compliance with the OHSA and its regulations.

Inspectors' findings may impact the frequency and level of future inspections of individual workplaces. Inspectors may also refer employers to health and safety associations for compliance assistance and training.

Blitz focus

During the blitz, inspectors focused on workplaces where many new and young workers were employed, including:

  • farming operations
  • agricultural services
  • tourism, hospitality and recreation
  • retail
  • vehicle sales and service
  • wholesale
  • automotive
  • food, beverage and tobacco
  • sawmills and logging

The inspectors focused on the following requirements:

  • Information, instruction and supervision: Inspectors checked to ensure that employers were giving new and young workers the required information, instruction, training and supervision to protect their health and safety when starting a job and that they were receiving supervision, as required.
  • Minimum age requirements: Inspectors checked that workers met minimum age requirements in the Regulations for Industrial Establishments.
  • Internal Responsibility System (IRS): Inspectors checked that requirements for the workplace’s IRS, such as Joint Health and Safety Committees or health and safety representatives, were being complied with at the workplace.
  • Safety measures: Inspectors checked that required safety measures and procedures were in place to prevent injuries and occupational illness. In addition, inspectors checked that employers were meeting requirements for protecting workers from workplace violence and harassment.

Inspection activity

During the blitz, orders were issued for various violations under the:

Inspectors visited workplaces in various sectors.

Table 1: Top 10 sectors, ranked by orders issued
Rank Sector Orders Issued Stop Work Orders Issued Workplaces Visited Field Visits
1 Retail 3,648 48 930 1,162
2 Restaurants 1,504 15 282 360
3 Wood & Metal Fabrication 976 23 144 187
4 Tourism, Hospitality & Recreational Services 743 16 155 210
5 Food, Beverage & Tobacco 727 7 186 230
6 Vehicle Sales & Service 670 11 125 158
7 Wholesalers 602 11 136 180
8 Industrial Services 297 9 106 126
9 Chemical, Rubber & Plastics 265 17 47 66
10 Automotive 227 5 68 76

Order analysis

Frequently issued OHSA orders involved employers’ failure to:

  • post an OHSA copy in the workplace (section 25(2)(i)) – 709 orders or 6.2 per cent
  • maintain equipment in good condition (section 25(1)(b)) – 626 orders or 5.5 per cent
  • take reasonable precautions to protect workers’ health and safety (section 25(2)(h)) – 507 orders or 4.4 per cent
  • prepare and review, at least annually, a written occupational health and safety policy, and develop and maintain a program to implement that policy (section 25(2)(j)) – 435 orders or 3.8 per cent
  • have a workplace health and safety representative at the workplace (section 8(1)) – 366 orders or 3.2 per cent
  • have a health and safety representative do an inspection of the workplace (section 8(6)) – 290 orders or 2.5 per cent
  • provide information, instruction and supervision to protect workers' health and safety (section 25(2)(a)) – 287 orders or 2.5 per cent

Of the total orders issued, 15 percent (1,718 orders) were issued under Part III.0.1 of the OHSA provisions for workplace violence and harassment. They involved a failure of employers to comply with requirements to:

  • have workplace violence and harassment policies and programs in place
  • provide information and instruction on those policies and programs
  • assess or re-assess the risks of workplace violence arising from the nature of the workplace, the type of work or conditions of work

As part of checking for worker training and appropriate supervision in workplaces, orders were issued under the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation for violations involving:

  • basic occupational health and safety awareness training for workers (section 1(1) to 1(3)) – 787 orders or 6.9 per cent
  • basic occupational health and safety awareness training for supervisors (section 2(1) to 2(3)(1)) – 615 orders or 5.4 per cent

Orders were issued under the following sections of the Regulations for Industrial Establishments (among others):

  • housekeeping (sections 11 to 20) – 651 orders or 5.7 per cent
  • fire safety (sections 22 to 23) – 40 orders or 0.3 per cent
  • machine guarding (sections 24 to 44.2) – 563 orders or 4.9 per cent
  • material handling (sections 45 to 66) – 1,118 orders or 9.7 per cent
  • maintenance and repairs (sections 72 to 78) – 144 orders or 1.3 per cent
  • personal protective equipment (sections 79 to 86) – 151 orders or 1.3 per cent
  • industrial hygiene (sections 124 to 139) – 306 orders or 2.7 per cent

The 209 stop work orders represented 1.85 per cent of all orders issued.

No orders were issued for failure to comply with minimum age requirements under the Regulations for Industrial Establishments.

Observations

The blitz found that retail, restaurant, and wood and metal fabrication workplaces (noted in Table 1 above) had the most orders of any sectors visited.

The blitz results indicate new and young workers continue to be exposed to many of the same hazards in workplaces across all sectors, regardless of the size of the workplace or nature of business. Continued enforcement is needed to improve the health and safety of all new and young workers in any sectors.

The ministry also needs to continue to target new worker safety during routine workplace inspections of Ontario's industrial workplaces. Inspectors will continue to check that new and young workers:

  • are informed, instructed and supervised, as required
  • are working in accordance with the OHSA requirements
  • meet minimum age requirements under the Industrial Regulations

Next Steps

The ministry will continue to raise awareness of new and young workers’ health and safety in Ontario workplaces.

A key to workplace health and safety in Ontario is the IRS. One of the primary purposes of the OHSA is to facilitate a strong IRS in the workplace. The OHSA sets out the duties of workplace parties. Compliance by workplace parties with their respective statutory duties is essential to establishing and maintaining a strong IRS in the workplace.

Workplace parties are encouraged to work together to identify and control hazards involving new and young workers.

Compliance help for employers

Please contact our safety partners for more information on identifying, preventing and controlling these hazards.

View health and safety awareness products and training for workplace parties.

Ministry of Labour Health & Safety Contact Centre

Toll-free: 1-877-202-0008
TTY: 1-855-653-9260
Fax: 905-577-1316

  • Call any time to report critical injuries, fatalities or work refusals
  • Call 8:30 a.m.to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, for general inquiries about workplace health and safety
  • Always call 911 immediately in an emergency

[1] Included both “young workers” aged 14 to 24 and workers aged 25 and older

[2] Includes orders and requirements