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Manufacturing Hazards

Safe At Work Ontario
  • Issued: September 28, 2012
  • Content last reviewed: December 2016
  • See also: Bulletin

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.

Overview

The manufacturing sector is a diverse and complex industry consisting of various types of workplaces, including automotive, food and beverage, wood and metal fabrication, textiles and printing, chemical, rubber and plastics, ceramics, logging (sawmills) and pulp and paper.

Workers can be exposed to a number of hazards in this sector that can result in serious injuries, occupational illness or even death. Included are hazards involving:

  • machine hazards such as in-running nip hazards, exposure to moving parts and exposure to hazardous motion if equipment is not properly locked and blocked during maintenance and repair
  • improper or non-existent guarding and lockout of machines and equipment.

Other hazards that may be present in a manufacturing workplace may include:

  • musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)
  • occupational disease arising from noise
  • chemical exposures, and
  • workplace violence and harassment

Employers, supervisors and workers have responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the Regulations for Industrial Establishments (R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 851). Some of the responsibilities are listed here.

Employers

  • providing appropriate information, instruction and supervision to protect workers such as training in lockout and guarding procedures (OHSA, Section 25(2)(a))
  • ensuring equipment is maintained in good condition by replacing and/or repairing damaged machine components (OHSA, Section 25(1)(b))
  • determining whether a Pre-Start Health and Safety Review needs to be conducted on newly installed machinery (Industrial Regulation, Section 7)
  • ensuring an appropriate machine guard or other device exists to protect workers when
    • a moving part may endanger workers (Industrial Regulation, Section 24)
    • a machine has an in-running nip hazard (Industrial Regulation, Section 25)
    • ensuring appropriate lockout and blocking procedures by
    • cleaning, oiling, adjusting, repairing or having maintenance done on a machine when motion that could endanger the worker is stopped and any stopped part that could move has been blocked (Industrial Regulation, Section 75)
    • locking out control switches or other control mechanisms, or taking other effective precautions to prevent starting, when the starting of the machine could endanger a worker (Industrial Regulation, Section 76)
  • ensuring hazards involving worker exposure to noise are eliminated or properly controlled (Noise Regulation, Section 2)
  • reporting occupational illnesses to the Ministry of Labour, trade union (if any) and the workplace's Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) or health and safety representative (HSR)
  • developing a policy for workplace violence (OHSA Section 32.0.1(1)
  • developing a program to implement the workplace violence policy (OHSA, Section 32.0.2(1))
  • providing workers with information and instruction on the workplace violence policy and program (Section 32.0.5(2)(a))
  • developing a policy on workplace harassment (OHSA, Section 32.0.1 (1)(b))
  • developing a program to implement the workplace harassment policy (OHSA, Section 32.0.6(1))
  • providing workers with information and instruction on the workplace harassment policy and program (OHSA, Section 32.0.7(a))
  • taking all precautions reasonable in the circumstances to protect workers from MSD hazards.

Supervisors

  • taking all precautions reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of workers
  • ensuring workers comply with the OHSA and its regulations
  • ensuring workers use any equipment, protective devices or clothing required by the employer
  • advising workers of any potential or actual health and safety dangers.

Workers

  • participating in training, including training on proper lockout and guarding of machines
  • following lockout and guarding procedures
  • reporting machine hazards and other workplace hazards to their supervisor
  • using or operating machinery in a safe manner

More information

Toll–free Number

Call 1–877–202–0008 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 in an emergency.

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.