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BACKGROUNDER

Inspectors Target Recycling & Waste Hazards


Inspectors will visit waste management, recycling and health care workplaces across Ontario in November and December to ensure proper handling and disposal procedures are followed to help keep workers safe.

Hazards

In the industrial sector, workers involved in recycling and waste management face hazards involving:

  • Unsafe use of cranes and other lifting devices that could result in workers being struck by the equipment or waste loads
  • Improper material handling practices that cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)
  • Uneven surfaces or debris or spills that could result in workers slipping, tripping or falling
  • Unsafe operation of mobile material handling equipment or other vehicles that could result in other workers in the workplace/yard being struck
  • Exposure to hazards such as noise, silica, asbestos and dust that could lead to occupational illnesses
  • Unguarded equipment and/or failure to lock out and block equipment for maintenance or inspection activities leading to possible lacerations, amputations and or crushing injuries to workers

In the health care sector, workers involved in recycling and waste management face hazards involving:

  • Exposure to drugs that may cause harmful effects such as skin or respiratory problems, cancer or other health effects
  • Exposure to infectious materials in the waste that could cause worker illness
  • Potential for injury from sharp objects that are not properly disposed of
  • Poor work practices involving the lifting and manual handling of waste bags and containers that could lead to MSDs

Blitz Focus

In the industrial sector, inspectors will visit workplaces involved in recycling commodities, resources or used materials for future use. They will also visit workplaces where waste handling is a significant part of the operations.

This would include workplaces involved in the collection (municipalities and private), transportation (truck firms), processing and sorting (facilities) and disposal (landfills) of waste or recyclable materials. It would also include some retail outlets.

In the health care sector, inspectors will visit workplaces such as hospitals, long-term care homes and health sector laboratories that have cancer treatment drugs or where biomedical waste or other infectious agents are generated and handled.

The inspectors will target workplaces known to have a high-frequency of injuries related to recycling and waste management, and where complaints regarding non-compliance have been received.

These enforcement blitzes are part of the province's Safe At Work Ontario strategy and will raise awareness, ensure workers are properly trained and supervised, and help keep them safe on the job site.

Jonathan Rose, Minister's Office, 416-326-7709
Matt Blajer, Communications Branch, 416-326-7405

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