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Safe At Work Ontario TODAY

Issue #10 | March 2012

Safe At Work Ontario

A Productive Year

Photo of Sophie Dennis, Assistant deputy Minister, Operations Division

Sophie Dennis
Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations

We had a busy year in 2011. From the start of our fiscal year, in April, to December, our health and safety inspectors conducted more than 60,000 visits to workplaces across Ontario in all sectors.

That amounts to 32,467 workplaces and 103,965 orders issued.

We also conducted a dozen health and safety inspection blitzes, focusing on a wide variety of hazards that range from access equipment in construction to musculoskeletal disorders. In those 12 blitzes, we issued 23,386 orders, including 1,116 stop-work orders. The high number of orders in the blitz is a clear indication that we are going into the right workplaces. And we are stopping dangerous work.

We know that compliance requires a range of tools. Some firms will be subjected to risk-based targeted enforcement. Some have best practices that can be shared as examples across industries and within sectors. Meanwhile, others require education and tools to promote self-reliance. And so we’ve helped workplaces with just that.

Over the past few years, we have provided a variety of tools to help employers and workers comply with Ontario’s occupational health and safety laws. We encourage you to visit our website. Among a wealth of resources, you’ll find 29 fact sheets, 14 inspector videos, 11 podcasts and two interactive tools. And with every new inspection blitz, we’ll continue offering additional resources.

Our telephone and online help channels also provide assistance to employers and to workers throughout the year. Less than two years ago, the ministry launched a new toll-free number (1-877-202-0008) to report workplace health and safety incidents, or unsafe work practices – or to ask a question. From April 1 to December 31, 2011, we received more than 27,307 calls. We also have received nearly 4,000 emails.

As we wrap up another fiscal year, we’ll continue making strides to strengthen workplace health and safety. And we will also continue to work closely with you because partnerships are important to us. It’s the joint partnerships and ongoing dialogue that will help us determine how best to move forward during the next year.

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Prevention Update

Photo of George Gritziotis, Chief Prevention Officer

George Gritziotis
Chief Prevention Officer

Since joining the Ontario Ministry of Labour, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a diversity of stakeholders – our employer and labour leaders, health and safety system partners, and many individuals at the community level. I have been impressed by their commitment to improve occupational health and safety in Ontario and am gratified by the positive support I have received.

An important part of my job will be to work closely with our stakeholders in the development of an integrated occupational health and safety strategy for Ontario. The expert panel report and its consensus recommendations will provide the foundation for the development of this strategy. In addition, I will be overseeing the development of training programs and standards, and will have accountability for the Health and Safety Associations.

We are taking steps to establish a multi-stakeholder Prevention Council that will advise the Minister and me on strategic priorities. The application process has just ended, and I want to thank those who have expressed an interest in serving on the Council. I am pleased that we are now moving forward on the appointments. Very soon, we will also be putting in place the new Section 21 committees for vulnerable workers and small business.

Last December, consultation began on several workplace products, including a mandatory poster that summarizes basic workplace rights and responsibilities; a workbook to increase workers’ knowledge about their rights and responsibilities; and an employer guide to the health and safety program for workers. Thank you for your comments; we will review the materials based on your feedback.

I consistently emphasize that stakeholder engagement will be the key to our success in all that we do. In fact, I am currently involved in a ministry initiative to develop a stakeholder engagement strategy.

We will continue to engage with you – our partners – through the many means at our disposal. It’s through partnerships with people like you that we will continue to build more effective prevention programs and services for all of us in Ontario.

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Safe At Work Ontario Stakeholder Consultation

Photo of Renu Kulendran, Director of Occupational Health and Safety Branch

Renu Kulendran
Director, Occupational Health & Safety Branch

This February and March, the Ministry of Labour held its fourth annual stakeholder consultation sessions as part of its Safe At Work Ontario strategy. I’m always excited at this time of the year, as our ministry invites stakeholders to discuss what needs improvement, strategies that are working and new enforcement blitzes that would be of value.

I’m pleased to say that the sessions were a success! This year, more than 200 representatives from labour, employer and small businesses in various sectors met with the ministry.

During the consultations, we provided an overview of our Safe At Work Ontario strategy in dealing with sector hazards. We also discussed:

  • new tools and resources available on the ministry’s website
  • updates from the new Prevention Division at the Ministry of Labour
  • feedback and recommendations that we received at last year’s consultations.

Our ministry obtained valuable feedback on what we are doing right and areas for improvement. Participants at the conference said they appreciated the ministry’s efforts to raise awareness on occupational health and safety, through new online resources and social media and e-newsletters.

For us, ongoing stakeholder engagement is integral to understanding what is occurring in the field, so that we can respond quickly to workplace issues. The ministry uses information from its consultations as part of the annual planning process for Safe At Work Ontario. We analyze and prioritize the feedback to determine what can be delivered over the short- and long-term.

As our new Chief Prevention Officer, George Gritziotis, often says: “Effective stakeholder engagement is key to the success of any and all of the things we do.” And I couldn’t agree more. If you were unable to attend the consultations in person, be sure to read a summary of the presentation that we’ve posted on our website. You can send your comments to us through the online comment box or by email at: by March 31, 2012.

You can read the presentation here:

Continued engagement with our partners is vital to the success and improvement of workplace health and safety culture across Ontario. I look forward to working with you to ensure that we continue strengthening health and safety at workplaces across the province.

Renu Kulendran

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Inspection Blitzes

Most often, the incidents that lead to injury or death are preventable or avoidable. That’s why the Ministry of Labour’s Safe At Work Ontario strategy takes a proactive approach to workplace health and safety. Its proactive health and safety inspection blitzes on sector-specific hazards are designed to raise awareness and increase compliance with health and safety legislation.

In 2010/11, our highly trained ministry health and safety inspectors conducted more than 80,000 field visits – of which over 50,000 were proactive. We identified workplaces across all sectors and industries with poor injury records, hazardous work, a history of non-compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and with new and vulnerable workers.

Blitzes are announced in advance and results are reported after they are completed. The ministry tracks each sector to determine if the blitzes result in a long-lasting increase in compliance and decrease in injuries.

MSD blitz: February 2012

In February, the Ministry of Labour focused on workplaces in all sectors across Ontario, looking for hazards involving manual materials handling that can lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). In 2010, MSDs accounted for 42 per cent of all WSIB lost-time injuries.

The ministry has developed resources to help workplaces determine what inspectors look for and how to prevent MSDs.

Construction trades blitz: March, 2012

Throughout March, our inspectors focused on measures to improve the safety of concrete forming, masonry, siding and built-up roofing trades. The lost-time injury (LTI) rate for these trades ranges from almost two to four times higher than average injury rates for the construction industry in general.

Workers are at risk of:

  • unsafe use of equipment such as ladders, platforms and scaffolds
  • slips, trips and falls (especially during concrete forming operations, siding, masonry and roofing work)
  • inadequate education, training and supervision of workers (especially of new and young workers).


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North American Occupational Safety & Health (NAOSH) Week: May 6-12, 2012

Safety & Health: A Commitment for Life! Making It Work!

The goal of NAOSH Week is to focus the attention of workplaces and the public on the importance of preventing injury and illness in the workplace, at home and in the community. Involvement improves attitudes towards safety, fosters a safety-minded culture, assists in team building and improves communication.

Getting started – involvement, support and enthusiasm are critical to success!

  1. Establish a NAOSH Week Planning Committee – consider involving employees, workplace Occupational Health and Safety Committees, Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE) members, representatives from business, suppliers, government and other safety organizations.
  2. Develop a proposal for events and activities that will support company safety objectives and promote senior-level involvement and participation.
  3. Plan for broad sector involvement through a variety of events.
  4. Develop an outline for implementation by answering these questions:
    • What are your objectives? Goals?
    • What are you going to do? When? Where?
    • What do you need to make it happen?
    • Who can help?

Please refer to the NAOSH web site at for:

  • Links to the NAOSH Week Resource Guide
  • A NAOSH Week Event Planning Checklist
  • Suggestions of events and activities
  • A sample NAOSH Week Press Release and Proclamation

Post your events and qualify to enter the NAOSH Week Event Draw for a NAOSH Week Flag and $100 certificate for NAOSH Week promotional products. The draw will be made on April 18, 2012. Go to the Events across Canada page at and use the submission form to tell them of your plans!

Also, check out what is happening in Ontario and across the country at:

The Canadian Launch of NAOSH Week will be held on Monday, May 7, 2012, in Toronto, Ontario, at Centennial College. Also, celebrate Occupational Safety & Health Professional Day on Wednesday, May 9! For information, email:

Follow NAOSH Week on Twitter at

NAOSH Week is led by the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering.

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Events and Training

Health & Safety Spring Training: Aggregates – Across the province Infrastructure Health & Safety Association and Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association
Sessions in March & April about health and safety hazards in surface mines.
March, April 2012

Partners in Prevention Regional Health & Safety Conference & Trade Show – Sault Ste. Marie
April 11-12, 2012

Mining Health and Safety Conference – Sudbury
Presented by Workplace Safety North
April 17-19, 2012

Health & Safety Ontario and Ministry of Labour INSIDER WORKSHOPS
April, May and June 2012
In 12 cities across the province

IHSA Aggregate Sector Health & Safety Sessions
April, 2012
In four locations, across the province

Partners in Prevention 2012 Health & Safety Conference & Trade Show – Mississauga
Canada’s largest health and safety event. Visit the MOL team at booth 519!
May 1-2, 2012

Steps for Life – across Canada
A fundraising event for Threads of Life, a national Canadian charity providing support programs and services to families affected by a workplace fatality, life-altering injury or occupational disease.
Sunday May 6, 2012

North American Occupational Safety & Health Week – Canadian launch event in Toronto on Monday, May 7. OHS Professional day on Wednesday, May 9.
May 7-12, 2012

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New Ministry of Labour online resources


Two new videos about preventing MSDs, a new video on lab and shop safety in schools, and 11 other health and safety videos are available here.


New and archived podcasts are available here: MOL Podcasts

Fact sheets and posters:

New material for MSD and Construction blitzes – and all our fact sheets and posters – are available here

New web pages:

New e-form: Notice of Diesel-Powered Equipment [Form 016-078E]

This form is completed by employers, as required by section 182 (1) of the Regulation for Mines and Mining Plants, before diesel equipment is first used in an underground mine The completed form must be kept readily available at the mine site.

Access the form on the Ministry of Labour website.

Form 016-078E is also available online from ServiceOntario at the ONe-Source for Business portal. This portal will help guide you to the government services, forms and information you need to start, operate and grow your business.

Monthly news from the Ministry of Labour

Subscribe to What’s New, a monthly e-newsletter, featuring the latest ministry news on workplace health and safety, employment standards and labour relations. Keep up-to-date on ministry legislation, operations and resources – all directly from your email inbox.

View CSA standards cited in OHSA regulations

Many regulations made under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act require compliance with standards published by Canadian Standards Association, CSA, a not-for-profit, membership-based association serving business, industry, government and consumers in Canada and the global marketplace. Thanks to a pilot project funded in part by the Ontario government, you can read many of the relevant Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards before you buy. Registration to view the standards is required; however, you are under no obligation to purchase anything. CSA standards cited in Ontario’s occupational health and safety regulations are available online for many sectors, including industry, health care, mining, manufacturing, agriculture and construction.

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