Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations
As I was reviewing some information that crossed my desk several months ago, one statistic stood out: the number of young worker injuries and illnesses in Ontario continues to drop steadily over the years. I am encouraged that workplaces are hearing the message of safer workplaces, and that young workers are learning more about their rights and responsibilities. But, more has yet to be done.
That’s why in this issue of Safe At Work Ontario TODAY you will be reading about the new “It’s Your Job” video contest for young workers. Whether armed with the latest SLR camera or just an economical point-and-shoot camera, youth across Ontario will have a chance to win cash prizes, recognition and, of course, a chance to spread their message about safer and fairer workplaces. We encourage you to also spread the word about the contest.
Also in this issue, you’ll read about our four workplace inspection blitzes this fall, as we continue our proactive enforcement targeting sector-specific hazards. We’re continuing to raise awareness and increase compliance with Ontario health and safety legislation.
Read about new workplace requirements, and new alerts and guidance material – all resources that could benefit your organization. This edition is full of useful information to help ensure that workplace parties know their rights and responsibilities under the law.
I hope you enjoy this edition of Safe At Work Ontario TODAY as much as we enjoyed producing it.
Chief Prevention Officer
As students geared up to return to classes this fall, our ministry saw an opportunity to give young Ontarians an opportunity to speak out about workplace health and safety.
On September 10, we announced a contest inviting Ontario secondary school students – and youth aged 18-24 across Canada – to use their creativity and shoot a video on the importance of working safely and being treated fairly on the job. The contest, which begins accepting entries in February, gives youth an opportunity to speak out about workplace rights and responsibilities. It also gives them a chance to win cash prizes, and national and international recognition.
The grim fact is every day in Ontario, 70 workers under age 25 are injured on the job. Some lose their lives. Although that number continues to drop, I believe that even one injury in unacceptable. This contest gives youth an important part to play in reaching the ultimate goal of fewer injuries and safer workers. If you know of a young Ontarian who would like to participate in the contest, please have them visit: youtube.com/yourjobvotretravail.
I’m also pleased to mention that Ontario has a new Prevention Council. The diverse Council – consisting of labour, non-union worker, employer, WSIB and expert representatives – will provide strategic advice to the minister on a variety of issues, and support my efforts on the prevention of workplace injuries and illnesses.
Workplaces should also note that starting October 1 employers must display a new workplace poster “Health and Safety at Work: Prevention Starts Here.” You can find it on our website in English, French and 15 other languages. I want to thank everyone who has ordered free copies from ServiceOntario Publications or printed copies from our website. Not only are you complying with legislation, but you’re spreading the word about workplace rights and responsibilities.
I’d also like to take this opportunity introduce three new directors in the ministry’s Prevention Office:
We are also continuing to recruit positions within the Prevention Office and will carry on building our functional capacity throughout the fall. Thank you for your continued hard work in ensuring that the prevention of injuries and illness remains top of mind at your workplace.
Wayne De L’Orme
Director, Occupational Health & Safety Branch
As a reader of this newsletter, you’re probably involved in occupational health and safety at your workplace. You may be the Vice-President of safety at your organization. Or a human resources professional. Or you may sit on a Joint Health and Safety Committee.
Are you taking advantage of all the resources that we provide? Reprinting information from our fact sheets into your newsletters? Are you playing our videos at your staff meetings?
The Ministry of Labour develops a wide variety of resources and makes them available for you to view and download from its website free of charge.
This year alone, we released several new workplace posters, fact sheets, hazard alerts, videos and podcasts. Together, these new resources help educate employers, supervisors and workers on their rights and duties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.
Hazard alerts often outline an incident in which a worker was injured or killed on the job. They are developed to help workplaces avoid similar injuries or fatalities by providing more information about the hazards, legal requirements and precautions.
Workplace posters are high-resolution documents that may be printed in colour or black-and-white on your office computer or at a print shop. The posters are designed to be displayed at your workplace to raise awareness of workplace hazards.
Fact sheets are produced to support workplaces, and outline the purpose of a blitz and what inspectors look for should they visit your workplace.
Videos add to our print resources and demonstrate visually what a typical workplace inspection looks like. Videos feature a real MOL inspector conducting an inspection.
If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to visit the Ministry of Labour’s health and safety “Topics and Publications” page and review the resources that are available. You might learn something new or find something that you can share with your co-workers and prevent an injury, illness or death from happening at your workplace.
Ontario will conduct four targeted safety blitzes at projects and workplaces across the province this fall:
During the blitzes, inspectors will focus on:
Protecting workers on the job is part of the McGuinty government's continued commitment to preventing workplace injuries through its Safe At Work Ontario strategy, while creating jobs.
Between April 1, 2011, and March 31, 2012, 334 of 345 supervisors who were convicted and fined in respect of offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) were in the construction sector.
Violations involving supervisors were among the Top 10 orders issued by ministry inspectors under the OHSA in 2011.
In September and October 2012, Ministry of Labour inspectors will check on supervision of construction projects and workers on those projects. They will look for inadequate supervision that could lead to injury or death.
Inadequate supervision can result in hazards such as a lack of guardrails around work surfaces and workers not wearing the required personal protective equipment, including safety hats and fall protection.
Inspectors will check that:
This is the ministry’s 12th blitz focusing on construction, and the first to focus on supervisory engagement.
In October and November, the Ministry of Labour will focus on hazards in the manufacturing sector, primarily on guarding and lockout of machines and equipment.
Improper or non-existent guarding and lockout of machines and equipment can result in injuries, amputations and death. In 2009, more than 2,100 lost-time injury claims were made for workers caught in or compressed by equipment and over 350 claims were made for amputations. These lost-time injuries rank in the top four causes of injuries, according to recent Workplace Safety and Insurance Board data.
If a lockout is not performed, uncontrolled energies could result in burns, cuts, bruises, amputations and death. This could also lead to chemical exposures, fire and explosions.
In support of the many other ministry health and safety priorities relating to this sector, inspectors will also look at workplace violence and harassment, occupational disease as it relates to noise, chemical exposure and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), where appropriate.
Inspectors will focus on the following sub-sectors during this blitz:
This is the ministry’s 17th blitz focusing on industrial workplaces, and the first blitz focusing on machine guarding.
Over the past decade, several outbreaks related to infectious diseases such as norovirus, Clostridium difficile and influenza have affected people, including workers, in health and community care workplaces.
In Ontario, many people – more than half a million – work in health care.
Health care workers are potentially at risk from exposure to infections in the workplace. Employers have a responsibility to control hazards – including infectious agents – in the workplace.
In October and November 2012, the ministry will be conducting a blitz focusing on infection prevention and control in Ontario’s health care sector.
Inspectors will focus on:
This is the ministry’s second blitz focusing on infection control, and the second to also include personal protective equipment as a priority.
In November and December 2012, the ministry will focus on hazards associated with ore passes and loading pockets in underground mines.
During this campaign inspectors will focus on:
Differential pressure known as “Delta P” is created when there is water leakage from the pressure side of a structure that intersects two bodies of water, such as at a dam. These forces can be deadly for a diver working on the pressure side of a structure.
That’s why the Regulation for Diving Operations requires an employer, an owner and the diving supervisor to take effective steps to prevent a diver from being exposed to a hazardous water flow at a dam, intake or water control structure. Some of these steps include the preparation, in writing, of an operational and contingency plan with input from one or more diving supervisors.
The workers must be familiar with the surface signs of Delta P and the methods used to effectively detect it before a dive begins. Likewise, it is crucial that the diver completes a recognition dive to ensure that the area in which he or she will be working is free of Delta P hazards.
The ministry’s Construction Health and Safety Program (Dive Program) will be conducting a Delta P heightened enforcement campaign from September 15 to November 30 to raise awareness of this hazard.
Read more about Ontario’s Safe At Work Ontario strategy to improve workplace health and safety.
Learn about the ministry’s Sector Plans 2012-2013.
Beginning October 1, 2012, employers must display a new workplace poster “Health & Safety at Work: Prevention Starts Here.” It is available from the Ministry of Labour website in English, French and 15 other languages.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) requires employers to post in the workplace a copy of the act and any explanatory material – such as this poster – prepared by the ministry outlining the rights, responsibilities and duties of workers.
The poster summarizes workers’ health and safety rights and responsibilities, and the responsibilities of employers and supervisors. It also reminds employers that they must not take action against workers for following the OHSA or for raising workplace health and safety concerns.
The poster encourages workplaces parties to get involved in health and safety. It also explains when and why to contact the Ministry of Labour regarding workplace health and safety.
The poster is available online in PDF format in 17 languages. Posters can be printed in black-and-white or in colour and must be displayed in letter size (8.5 x 11 inches) or larger. Free printed copies (English and French only) are available from ServiceOntario Publications.
A new nationwide video contest is inviting young Canadians to use their creativity and shoot a video on the importance of working safely and being treated fairly on the job.
The contest invites contestants to submit a video of up to two minutes on any topic related to awareness about workplace health and safety, and/or employment standards. The two-tiered contest is open to secondary school students and those between the ages 18-24, who are not in secondary school.
The 18-24 category is open to all Canadian provinces and territories. Simultaneously, provincial and territorial jurisdictions will hold their own secondary school contests. Winning secondary school videos will then compete against others from across Canada.
The top videos will be viewed by Canadians online in May 2013, during which everyone will have an opportunity to vote for their favourite. A panel of celebrity judges will select the first, second and third place winners. The top Canadian videos will then move forward to an international competition.
The contest provides young Canadians with an opportunity to speak out about workplace rights and responsibilities, with the ultimate goal of fewer injuries and fairer workplaces. It also gives them a chance to win cash prizes and national – and international – recognition.
More information about the contest can be found at: youtube.com/yourjobvotretravail.
“This is a great opportunity for young Canadians to highlight the importance of occupational health and safety and raise their voice on workplace rights and responsibilities, while showcasing their video-making skills. I’m excited to see what they come up with,” said Chief Prevention Officer George Gritziotis at the Ontario Ministry of Labour.
Looking for health and safety articles for your company’s newsletter? Trying to plug a news hole? On deadline at your newspaper?
The Ministry of Labour is providing ready-to-go articles that you can use for reprinting in your newspaper, magazine or other publication. These ready-to-go articles – written in Canadian Press style – are copyright- and cost-free to you.
Recent articles include:
“Whether you‘re responsible for your company newsletter or you work in a newsroom, we understand the constraints many writers are faced with nowadays, such as fewer resources,” said Tom Zach, the ministry’s Director of the Communications and Marketing Branch.
“These editorial articles – written by our writers, many of them former journalists – are written in a neutral tone to ensure that the general public understands the hazards involved in certain industries. Feel free to use them in their entirety.”
Check back for more articles or sign up to get automatic updates when new material becomes available.
Nearly 1,000 temp agencies operate in Ontario. About 735,000 people in Ontario work in temporary jobs; many of them are employed by temp agencies.
Temporary help agencies and their client businesses should ensure that they understand their employer duties under the law. Those who are employed by a temporary help agency have the same rights and duties as permanent workers under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The Radiation Protection Service (RPS) is administered under the direction of the ministry. It is Ontario’s primary source of expertise on all matters concerning exposure to radiation, whether regarding nuclear facilities or veterinary dental X-ray machine installation.
All ministry resources on radiation – including alerts, guidelines and reports – can now be found in one convenient location.
The ministry issues new alerts and guidance material to provide updates or to help workplaces take proper precautions to address hazards in a specific industry.
Blacklegged ticks that can transmit Lyme disease are in Ontario, and in more areas than previously thought. Workers who work in certain outdoor areas are at risk for tick bites and developing Lyme disease, and should protect themselves.
The Ministry of Labour enforces the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which includes enforcing the requirement that employers ensure workers are trained in the safe operation of equipment, such as foundation drilling equipment. The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities is consulting with relevant stakeholders to develop training recommendations for drill rig operators and consider which training requirements should be mandatory.
Dental X-ray machines are valuable tools in modern veterinary care. Workplaces must abide by requirements relating to the health and safety of workers exposed to X-ray radiation.
The ministry has produced a series of audio podcasts that helps Ontario workers and employers learn about health and safety, and employment standards. These are now available for listening anytime, anywhere.
Since the last Safe At Work Ontario TODAY, the ministry has added five podcasts:
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.
Training and services for construction, electrical and utilities, aggregates, natural gas, ready-mix concrete and transportation.
Training and services for: hospitals, nursing and retirement homes, residential and community care, universities and colleges, school boards, libraries and museums, municipalities, provincial government and agencies, police, fire and paramedics and First Nations.
Training and services (province wide): forestry, mining, smelters, refineries, paper, printing and converting.
Training and services for agriculture, manufacturing and service sectors.
Toll-free: 1-877-494-9777 | www.wsps.ca
OHCOW provides comprehensive occupational health services to workers concerned about work-related health conditions and to workers, unions and employers who need support to prevent these health conditions from developing. OHCOW services are free of charge.
As Ontario’s designated health and safety training centre, the WHSC provides training for workers, their representatives and employers from every sector and region of the province.
Supervisor duties at construction projects:
Links to the inspection blitz schedule and sector plans for 2012-13.
Many regulations made under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act require compliance with standards published by CSA Group, 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 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.