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Results: New and Young Workers Blitz 2016

Safe At Work Ontario
  • Issued: December 2016
  • Content last reviewed: December 2016

Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help the workplace parties understand some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations. For further information please see full disclaimer.

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.

Between July 18 and September 2, 2016, Ministry of Labour inspectors conducted an 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 2011 and 2015, 33 young workers aged 15 to 24 died in work-related incidents, according to Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) statistics. In 2015, five young workers died.

From July 18 to September 2, 2016, ministry inspectors conducted 1,144 visits to 905 workplaces and issued 3,113 orders[2] under the OHSA and its regulations. This included 44 stop work orders. Some of the workplaces were visited several times.

On average, 3.44 orders were issued at each workplace visited.

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

  • post an OHSA copy in the workplace [OHSA s. 25(2)(i)] – 229 orders
  • maintain equipment in good condition [OHSA s. 25(1)(b)] – 170 orders
  • take reasonable precautions to protect workers’ health and safety [OHSA s. 25(2)(h)] – 138 orders

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:

  • agricultural services (landscapers, veterinary services)
  • tourism, hospitality and recreation (hotels & motels, golf courses)
  • restaurants
  • retail

The inspectors focused on the following requirements:

  • Information, instruction and supervision: Inspectors checked that new and young workers were being given, by the employer, the required information, instruction (e.g. training) and supervision to protect their health and safety when starting a job and that they were receiving supervision.
  • Minimum age requirements: Inspectors checked whether workers met minimum age requirements.
  • 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, where required, 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 to ensure 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

807

15

238

280

2

Restaurants

648

4

159

216

3

Tourism, Hospitality & Recreational Services

405

6

88

107

4

Food, Beverage & Tobacco

174

1

90

138

5

Vehicle Sales & Service

167

2

32

35

6

Wood & Metal Fabrication

119

3

35

42

7

Wholesalers

103

1

30

34

8

Industrial Services

89

0

44

57

9

Agricultural Services

61

0

14

17

10

Automotive

54

1

15

17

Order analysis

The most frequently issued OHSA orders involved employers’ failure to:

  • post an OHSA copy in the workplace [s. 25(2)(i)] – 229 orders or 7.4 per cent of total orders
  • maintain equipment in good condition [s. 25(1)(b)] – 170 orders or 5.5 per cent
  • take reasonable precautions to protect workers’ health and safety [s. 25(2)(h)] – 138 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 [s. 25(2)(j)) – 118 orders or 3.8 per cent
  • have a workplace health and safety representative at the workplace [s. 8(1)] – 111 orders or 3.6 per cent
  • provide information, instruction and supervision to protect workers' health and safety [s. 25(2)(a)] – 93 orders or 3 per cent
  • post the employer’s workplace violence and harassment policies in the workplace [s. 32.0.1(2)] – 82 orders or 2.6 per cent
  • have a health and safety representative do an inspection of the workplace [s. 8(6)] – 74 orders or 2.4 per cent

Of the total orders issued, 14.5 per cent (451 orders) were issued under Part III.0.1 of the OHSA provisions for workplace violence and harassment. They involved 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, 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 [s. 1(1) to 1(3)] – 239 orders or 7.7 per cent of total orders
  • basic occupational health and safety awareness training for supervisors [s. 2(1) to 2(3)(1)] – 207 orders or 6.7 per cent

Orders were issued under the following sections of the Regulation for Industrial Establishments:

  • housekeeping [s. 11 to 20] – 212 orders or 6.8 per cent of total orders
  • fire safety [s. 22 to 23] – eight orders or 0.3 per cent
  • machine guarding [s. 24 to 44.2] – 98 orders or 3.2 per cent
  • material handling [s. 45 to 66] – 278 orders or 8.9 per cent
  • maintenance and repairs [s. 72 to 78] – 51 orders or 1.6 per cent
  • personal protective equipment [s. 79 to 86] – 35 orders or 1.1 per cent
  • industrial hygiene [s. 124 to 139] – 69 orders or 2.2 per cent

A total of 44 stop work orders were issued. This represented about 1.4 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 workplaces in the retail, restaurant, tourism, hospitality and recreational services sectors (see 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 similar 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 all 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
  • have received verifiable basic occupational health and safety awareness training

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. The OHSA sets out the duties of workplace parties. It is essential for workplace parties to comply with their statutory duties in order to establish and maintain a strong IRS in the workplace.

The workplace parties are encouraged to work together to identify and control hazards that new and young workers may be exposed to.

Compliance help for employers

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

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

For more information

Contact the Ministry of Labour Health & Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008.

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.

Disclaimer: This web resource has been prepared to assist the workplace parties in understanding some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the regulations. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation.

It is the responsibility of the workplace parties to ensure compliance with the legislation. This web resource does not constitute legal advice. If you require assistance with respect to the interpretation of the legislation and its potential application in specific circumstances, please contact your legal counsel.

While this web resource will also be available to Ministry of Labour inspectors, they will apply and enforce the OHSA and its regulations based on the facts as they may find them in the workplace. This web resource does not affect their enforcement discretion in any way.