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Industrial Program

Safe At Work Ontario

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.

The Industrial Health and Safety Program is the largest and most diverse of the four occupational health and safety programs in the ministry. The program is responsible for enforcing the Occupational Health and Safety Act and applicable regulations in 29 complex sectors. Most workers in Ontario at provincially regulated workplaces are covered by the Industrial Health and Safety Program.

In addition to their general inspection duties, from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 ministry inspectors conducted the inspection blitzes outlined below.

Industrial blitzes

New and young workers

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. This enforcement blitz focused 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.

This blitz was active from May 1, 2014 – August 31, 2014. During this time inspectors checked that employers were complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.

Table 2: New and young workers blitz stats
Program activities Number
Field visits 2,560
Workplaces visited 2,003
Orders and requirements issued 7,941
Stop work orders 156
Orders per workplace visited 4.0

Resources

Materials handling

Workers are at risk of injuries such as musculoskeletal disorders when handling, moving and storing materials in workplaces. In 2012, 39 per cent of all lost-time injuries involved musculoskeletal disorders.

Incidents often involve being struck by or hitting objects and equipment. Being struck by or hitting objects and equipment accounted for more than 26 per cent of compensation claims from workers whose injuries resulted in them missing time at work.

Together, these two types of injuries have consistently accounted for almost 70 per cent of all lost time at work.

This blitz was active from September 15, 2014 - October 26, 2014. During this time inspectors checked that employers were complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.

Table 3: Materials handling blitz stats
Program activities Number
Field visits 841
Workplaces visited 701
Orders 3,263
Stop work orders 130
Orders per workplace visited 4.65

Resources

Machine guarding

Workers can suffer serious injuries such as amputation of limbs, or death, if machines have improper or missing guards or if improper lockout procedures are used.

In 2012, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board received claims from the following workers for lost-time injuries – injuries that resulted in workers having to take time off work beyond the day of the injury:

  • 1,976 workers who were caught in or compressed by equipment;
  • 305 workers, who were rubbed or abraded by friction, pressure or jarred by vibration; and
  • 367 workers who had body parts amputated.

This blitz was active from November 3, 2014 - December 14, 2014. During this time inspectors checked that employers were complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.

Table 4: Machine guarding blitz stats
Program activities Number
Field visits 821
Workplaces visited 676
Orders issued 3,669
Stop work orders 112
Orders per workplace visited 4.47

Resources

Slips, trips and falls

In 2013, there were 11 work-related deaths from falls in industrial workplaces.

In that same year, just over 70 per cent of fall-related injuries in all sectors were due to “same level falls” (falls on floors and other surfaces) in Ontario. Falls from heights accounted for almost 29 per cent of fall-related injuries and many of the work-related deaths in Ontario.

In 2013, 11,814 workers in Ontario workplaces had compensation claims approved by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board for missing time at work due to incidents involving falls.

This blitz was active from February 2, 2015 - March 15, 2015. During this time inspectors checked that employers were complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.

Table 5: Slips, trip and falls blitz stats
Program activities Number
Field visits 1,084
Workplaces visited 946
Orders issued 3,603
Stop work orders 65
Orders per workplace visited 3.32

Resources

Provincial industrial enforcement initiatives

New small business registrations and Internal Responsibility System initiative

This provincial enforcement initiative was carried out by the Industrial Health and Safety Program inspectors from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015.

Small businesses present unique health and safety challenges to the effective and efficient implementation of occupational health and safety in the workplace.

In Ontario, 95 per cent of employers are small businesses, employing 28 per cent of Ontario’s workers, many of which are vulnerable workers.

A key to workplace health and safety is having a strong Internal Responsiblity System. The Internal Responsiblity System is a system in which everyone – employers, supervisors and workers – all have key roles in ensuring a safe and healthy workplace.

Small businesses may not be aware of the roles and responsibilities that workplace parties have under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the support materials prepared by the ministry, and the compliance assistance available through the relevant Health and Safety Association.

An initiative to promote and enforce the Internal Responsiblity System at workplaces (with 50 or fewer workers) that had registered with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board but had no prior contact with the Ministry of Labour was undertaken by the Industrial Health and Safety Program from April 2014 to March 2015.

Table 6: Industrial Health and Safety Program initiative
Program activities Number
Field visits 1,637
Workplaces visited 1,234
Orders and requirements issued 4,886
Stop work orders 77
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 3.32
Orders and requirements per field visit 2.98

Resources

Regional industrial enforcement initiatives

Central East Region

Food distribution centres

This initiative ran from September 1 to December 21, 2014. The focus of this initiative was to protect health and safety of workers who perform material handling and operation of material handling equipment such as forklifts and pump trucks. Other health and safety issues, including worker training and equipment maintenance, were assessed as part of this initiative.

The low order numbers indicated many employers have improved their health and safety since a similar initiative was conducted in 2009.

Table 7: Food distribution (Central East Region)
Program activities Number
Field visits 36
Workplaces visited 17
Orders and requirements issued 6
Stop work orders 0
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 0.35
Orders and requirements per field visit 0.17

Industrial plazas: “operation discovery”

The focus of this one-day initiative, which ran on September 30, 2014, was to inspect multiple workplaces that are collectively located in an industrial plaza. During this regional initiative, 16 inspectors made visits to 16 workplaces during this regional initiative which had no prior ministry enforcement activity and as such the ministry was able to:

  • increase understanding of workplaces’ responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety Act;
  • enhance the ministry’s visibility; and
  • support the ministry’s Safe At Work Ontario strategy by focusing attention on vulnerable workers, small businesses and the underground economy.

The high number of orders is reflective of the high-risk workplaces that were visited during this one-day initiative.

Table 8: Industrial plazas (Central East Region)
Program activities Number
Field visits 16
Workplaces visited 16
Orders and requirements issued 100
Stop work orders 3
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 6.25
Orders and requirements per field visit 6.25

Body rub parlors

The ministry received two complaints (involving two workplaces) from a body rub parlour worker in May 2014 regarding workplace violence, other administrative requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and safe chemical handling. Both workplaces identified in the complaints received more than a dozen orders for contraventions of health and safety legislation. There are 25 licensed body rub parlours in the Toronto area. Of those, 22 workplaces were visited which affected 339 workers.

Based on the results of the complaint investigation, it was believed that workers at other locations in this industry may be young, vulnerable workers who may be at risk of workplace violence. These workers may be employed at small businesses where the level of health and safety knowledge is lacking. The ministry had not proactively inspected this industry before. Bringing multiple ministry inspectors into a small business area heightens employer awareness of the Ministry of Labour’s presence in Toronto.

On average, approximately four orders were issued per workplace visited. This value is twice the provincial average of two orders per workplace visited during a routine proactive inspection. The most frequently issued orders included Occupational Health and Safety Act administrative requirements (i.e. prepare a health and safety policy, conduct risk assessment and prepare workplace violence and harassment policies and programs).

Table 9: Body rub parlours (Central East Region)
Program activities Number
Field visits 46
Workplaces visited 22
Orders and requirements issued 94
Stop work orders 0
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 4.3
Orders and requirements per field visit 1.54

Central West Region

Farming

There are sometimes unique and unusual hazards on farms. This sector has been under the Occupational Health and Safety Act since 2006, and eight guidelines that highlight hazards on farms have been developed. There is a need for continued focus and stakeholder interaction regarding these hazards.

From April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015, four inspectors visited 24 farms, met with the farmer (or person in charge) and provided/explained a binder which included information pertaining to health and safety in a workplace.

In 2015 – 2016, the same 24 farms are to be visited and assessed as to what the farmer has developed to improve health and safety in the workplace/farm.

Table 10: Farming (Central West Region)
Program activities Number
Field visits 24
Workplaces visited 24
Orders and requirements issued N/A
Stop work orders N/A
Orders and requirements per workplace visited N/A
Orders and requirements per field visit N/A

Amusement devices

This was a joint initiative with the construction health and safety program that ran from July 1, 2014 to September 30 2014. Industrial inspectors focused on the operation of amusement devices at travelling fairs, carnivals, etc.. Industrial inspectors who conducted the amusement device inspections in 2013 reported that there would be a benefit to inspecting the set up / take down activities. Therefore in 2014, both industrial and construction inspectors visited amusement device operators.

The results indicated significant compliance improvements between 2013 and 2014 and within the 2014 season. Operators who were previously visited in 2013 had fewer (or no) administrative orders during 2014. There was notable improvement in compliance for operators who had been previously visited during 2013. The last six field visits (three industrial and three construction) resulted in no orders being issued. Key areas for improvement during set up / take down are:

  • use of appropriate personal protective equipment;
  • the safe use of ladders / working safely at height;
  • electrical hazards; and
  • qualification of persons completing electrical hook up (an emerging issue).
Table 11: Amusement devices (Central West Region)
Program activities Number
Field visits 24
Workplaces visited 19
Orders and requirements issued 38
Stop work orders 0
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 2
Orders and requirements per field visit 1.6

Eastern Region

Manufacturing

This initiative ran from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 and involved visits to workplaces in the manufacturing sectors and focused on:

  • machinery hazards;
  • material handling;
  • personal protective equipment; and
  • musculoskeletal disorders.
Table 12: Manufacturing (Eastern Region)
Program activities Number
Field visits 49
Workplaces visited 33
Orders and requirements issued 211
Stop work orders 2
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 6.4
Orders and requirements per field visit 4.3

Automotive shops (not inspected in the last two years)

This initiative ran from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 and involved visits to the automotive repair and vehicle sales and service sector, and focused on:

  • automotive hoists;
  • large tire repair;
  • machinery;
  • warehousing; and
  • racking.
Table 13: Automotive shops (Eastern Region)
Program activities Number
Field visits 95
Workplaces visited 76
Orders and requirements issued 414
Stop work orders 3
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 5.4
Orders and requirements per field visit 4.4

Farming operations (with more than five workers)

This initiative ran from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 and was intended to increase the sector impact of enforcement activity by visiting farming operations with more than five workers and focusing on tractor safety and occupational illness.

Table 14: Farming operations (Eastern Region)
Program activities Number
Field visits 3
Workplaces visited 2
Orders and requirements issued 14
Stop work orders 0
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 7.0
Orders and requirements per field visit 4.7

Arborists / landscapers

This initiative ran from May 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014 and focused on arborists’ and landscapers’ work. Their work involves inherently high-risk activity, with injuries due to falls from heights, cuts and struck by hazards. Previous regional incidents and prosecutions prompted the development of this regional initiative. Arborists and landscapers are often small employers, often with young workers.

Table 15: Arborists / landscapers (Eastern Region)
Program activities Number
Field visits 16
Workplaces visited 14
Orders and requirements issued 29
Stop work orders 1
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 2.1
Orders and requirements per field visit 1.8

Wineries / micro-breweries

Employers visited under this wineries and micro-breweries initiative were small businesses. This initiative ran from May 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014, with the key purpose of promoting awareness and protecting vulnerable migrant workers.

Table 16: Wineries/micro-breweries (Eastern Region)
Program activities Number
Field visits 2
Workplaces visited 2
Orders and requirements issued 0
Stop work orders 0
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 0
Orders and requirements per field visit 0

Northern Region

Sawmill, mechanical / conventional logging and hauling: “forestry”

As in previous years, inspectors directed enforcement activity to the usual mill, mechanical / conventional logging and hauling inspections. From April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 inspectors also focused on silvicultural activities throughout the year, for operations such as:

  • tree plantation thinning using brush saws;
  • manual/mechanical seed collection;
  • ground and aerial spray applications; and
  • site preparation.

Inspectors also carried out enforcement activities at base camps of these operations. Tree planting operations inspected as part of this Northern Regional initiative could also be inspected as part of the young worker provincial blitz initiative.

Table 17: Forestry (Northern Region)
Program activities Number
Field visits 148
Workplaces visited 115
Orders and requirements issued 134
Stop work orders 8
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 1.17
Orders and requirements per field visit 0.90

Remote access workplaces within the tourism, recreation and hospitality sector:
“remote camps”

The Northern Region conducted this initiative as a result of recent fatal and critical injuries within this sector. Many remote tourist camps employ workers who may work alone and may have limited access to health and safety assistance and/or resources. Workers typically operate boats and work on or near water. Bear encounters are common. This initiative focused on worker training and supervision, equipment operation/maintenance and ensuring that personal protective equipment is used as appropriate.

From June 21, 2014 to September 9, 2015 outreach activities were conducted in association with Workplace Safety and Prevention Services to make employers aware of the initiative. The outreach was done with the assistance of Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario and other member associations. The ministry presented at membership meetings and during a webinar.

Table 18: Remote camps (Northern Region)
Program activities Number
Field visits 24
Workplaces visited 24
Orders and requirements issued 56
Stop work orders 1
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 2.24
Orders and requirements per field visit 2.24

Western Region

Field-to-Bottle (wineries, “Field 2 Bottle”)

This two-year initiative ran from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2015 and involved a partnership with Workplace Safety and Prevention Services, the Wine Council of Ontario, and Grape Growers of Ontario. The first year involved partnership building, education and outreach to employers, plus proactive inspections of all wineries in the Niagara area at 85 workplaces. The second year expanded education, outreach and proactive inspections to the Pelee Island and Prince Edward County wine areas, along with re-inspection of all Niagara wineries.

This initiative provided significant improvement in employer engagement and positive working relationships were established with employers and stakeholder groups.

Table 19: Wineries, Field-to-Bottle (Western Region)
Program activities Number
Field visits 139
Workplaces visited 82
Orders and requirements issued 314
Stop work orders 2
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 3.83
Orders and requirements per field visit 2.26

Farming

This two-year initiative ran from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2015 and included 75 proactive field visits, with 39 in the first year and 36 in the second year. Through this initiative, the ministry was able to:

  • Raise the awareness of the roles and responsibilities that the stakeholders in the farming community have, from the workers to the employers and communicate its role to stakeholders. This message was well received at the Migrant Farm Workers Clinics held in Simcoe over the two years that the ministry attended;
  • Demonstrate and communicate commitment to work with other ministries and stakeholders to raise the awareness of safety and preventing injuries in farming operations; and
  • Communicate to workers and employers in the farming community that there have been many new guides and resources created to help them to comply with legislation. The Worker and Supervisor Awareness training requirements, and the materials to support that, were in demand at every meeting, show, and presentation.
Table 20: Farming (Western Region)
Program activities Number
Field visits 106
Workplaces visited 48
Orders and requirements issued 118
Stop work orders 7
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 2.46
Orders and requirements per field visit 1.09

Small manufacturers

This is a two-year initiative. The first year, from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015, was devoted strictly to education and outreach. Key highlights are as follows.

A partnership has been developed with the Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium. As part of this initiative, the Ministry of Labour’s Operations Division has partnered with Workplace Safety and Prevention Services. In December of 2015, a webinar for small manufacturing firms was conducted jointly between Workplace Safety and Prevention Services and the ministry’s Operations Division. This webinar focused on the Internal Responsiblity System and workplace inspections with more than 20 small manufacturing firms participating.

Led by the Western Region Occupational Health and Safety Program, the Employment Standards Program was successfully integrated into the sessions conducted with small manufacturers.

In September 2014, the ministry was represented at the Manufacturing Matters Conference in London. A presentation was made to 280 conference attendees representing manufacturers firms of various sizes. Small business resource materials were readily available via a tradeshow booth staffed with representatives from both Occupational Health and Safety and Employment Standards branches.

Eight education/outreach sessions were held through the Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium group. Attendance at these sessions ranged from 15 to 75 participants, the majority of whom represented manufacturing firms employing 50 or fewer persons. Topics covered at these sessions included:

  • Internal Responsiblity System;
  • mandatory awareness training;
  • machine guarding;
  • lockout;
  • duties of a supervisor; and
  • employments standards for small businesses.

The ministry’s small business focus has also been highlighted at these sessions. Each session featured extensive resource material for participants covering both occupational health and safety and employment standards topics.

Table 21: Small manufacturers (Western Region)
Program activities Number
Field visits 49
Workplaces visited 43
Orders and requirements issued 274
Stop work orders 1
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 6.37
Orders and requirements per field visit 5.59

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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.