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Blitz Results: New and Young Workers 2014

Safe At Work Ontario
  • Issued: January 14, 2015
  • Revised: June 8, 2015
  • Content last reviewed: June 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, 2014, Ministry of Labour inspectors conducted an enforcement blitz in the industrial sector focusing on:

  • new and young workers aged 14 to 24 years and
  • new workers aged 25 and older who were on the job for less than six months or reassigned to a new job

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

This included checking that employers were complying with new requirements for mandatory, basic occupational health and safety awareness training for all Ontario workers and supervisors. The requirements came into effect on July 1, 2014.

The goals of the blitz were to:

  • ensure employers advise new and young workers of hazards in the workplace
  • raise awareness of the rights and responsibilities under the OHSA 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

Workplace incidents continue to kill and critically injure new and young Ontario workers.

From 2009 to 2013, 15 young workers aged 15 to 24 died in work-related incidents in industrial and other sectors, according to Ministry of Labour statistics.

From May to August 2014, ministry inspectors conducted 2,560 visits to 2,003 workplaces and issued 7,941 orders[1] under the OHSA and its regulations. This included 156 stop work orders. Some of the workplaces were visited several times.

The top three most frequently issued orders involved employers’ failure to:

  • assess the workplace for a risk of violence and to have a workplace violence and harassment policy in place
  • take reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of workers
  • post a copy of the OHSA in the workplace

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:

  • service sector
  • manufacturing
  • farming operations: poultry, greenhouses, mushroom, tobacco, and field crops
  • tourism/hospitality (motels, hotels, amusement parks, golf courses, campgrounds, marinas, etc.)
  • logging
  • municipalities (municipally operated parks and recreation facilities, camps, arenas, pools, etc.)
  • transportation
  • arborists, landscaping

The inspectors focused on the following requirements:

  • Orientation, training and supervision: Inspectors checked to ensure new and young workers were being given the required information, instruction and training to protect their health and safety when starting a job and that they were receiving supervision, as required.
  • Minimum age requirements: Inspectors checked whether workers met minimum age requirements in the Regulations for Industrial Establishments.
  • Internal responsibility system (IRS): Inspectors checked that employers were complying with requirements involving the workplace's IRS, such as having a Joint Health and Safety Committee or health and safety representative.
  • Safety measures: Inspectors checked that required safety measures and procedures were in place to prevent injuries and occupational illness.

Inspection activity

On average, 4.0 orders were issued per workplace visited.

The orders were issued for various violations under the:

Inspectors visited workplaces in various sectors.

Table 1: Top 10 sector by orders issued
Sector Orders Issued Stop Work Orders Issued Workplaces Visited
Retail 1,759 21 592
Tourism, Hospitality and Recreational Services 1,159 18 268
Restaurants 1,009 8 276
Wood and Metal Fabrication 579 26 190
Food, Beverage and Tobacco 578 9 205
Wholesalers 364 4 128
Vehicle Sales and Service 353 3 117
Industrial Services 233 8 96
Automotive 217 14 53
Chemical, Rubber and Plastics 214 7 47

As part of the vulnerable new and young worker blitz, inspectors visited 18 farming operations workplaces and issued 48 orders. The farming operations visits represented 0.9 per cent of the total number of workplaces visited during the blitz. The orders represented 0.6 per cent of the total orders issued during the blitz and included three stop work orders.

Order analysis

Frequently issued OHSA orders involved employers’ failure to:

  • assess the workplace for a risk of violence and to have a workplace violence and harassment policy in place
  • take reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of workers
  • post a copy of the OHSA in the workplace
  • maintain equipment in good condition
  • prepare and review a health and safety policy and develop a program to implement that policy
  • provide information, instruction and supervision to protect workers' health and safety
  • have a workplace health and safety representative at the workplace
  • perform mandatory basic awareness training

Orders were issued under the Regulations for Industrial Establishments for violations involving:

  • housekeeping (Sections 11 to 20)
  • fire prevention (Sections 22 to 23)
  • machine guarding and lockout (Sections 24 to 42)
  • material handling (Sections 44 to 66)
  • personal protective equipment (Sections 79 to 86)
  • industrial hygiene (Sections 124 to 139)

The 156 stop work orders represented 2 per cent of all the orders issued.

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


Inspectors visits to the service sector (retail, tourism, hospitality and recreational, vehicle sales and service, wholesalers in Table 1 above) resulted in the most workplaces being visited and the most orders being issued.

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

The ministry also needs to continue to target its resources on 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 the minimum age requirements for the type of workplace in which they are working

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 internal responsibility system (IRS).

One of the primary purposes of the OHSA is to facilitate a strong IRS in the workplace. To this end, the OHSA lays out the duties of employers, supervisors, workers, constructors and workplace owners. Workplace parties' compliance with their respective statutory duties is essential to the establishment of a strong IRS in the workplace.

Everyone – employers, supervisors, workers, health and safety associations and the government – has a key role to play in taking responsibility for health and safety in the workplace. This is essential to preventing injuries and deaths.

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.

[1]Refers to orders and requirements.