An enforcement blitz will be conducted this summer for workplaces with new and young workers.
The blitz is part of the province’s Safe At Work Ontario enforcement initiative, launched in June 2008.
Between May 1 and August 31, 2014, Ministry of Labour inspectors will visit industrial sector workplaces across Ontario, focusing on the safety of new and young workers. Their goal will be to prevent injuries and deaths.
It will be the seventh year in a row that a new and young worker blitz is being held.
Examples of safety issues involving new and young workers include failure of employers to:
Inspectors will take enforcement action, as appropriate, in response to any violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations
New and young workers in Ontario are three times more likely to be injured during the first month of employment than at any other time.
Between 2006 and 2012, 48 young workers aged 15 to 24 died in work-related incidents, according to Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) statistics.
During the same period, more than 58,000 young workers received injuries resulting in lost time at work, according to WSIB claims statistics.
Many of the injured young workers were employed as labourers in processing, manufacturing and utilities as well as retail salespeople, food counter attendants and kitchen helpers.
The most common work-related injuries involving young workers were sprains and strains.
The majority of lost-time claims approved by the WSIB occurred when young workers were struck by objects and equipment.
The blitz will focus on safety of:
New workers include:
Ministry inspectors will place special emphasis on the safety of new and young workers in the industrial sector. In particular, industrial inspectors will focus on workplaces in the service, manufacturing, transportation, logging, landscaping, arborists, hotels and motel industries.
Health care inspectors will focus on community care services and community care residences.
Ministry inspectors will identify workplaces, including those:
Inspectors will focus on the following key priorities:
Orientation, training and supervision: Inspectors will check to ensure new and young workers are being given the required information, instruction and training to protect their health and safety when starting a job and are receiving supervision, as required. For example, new and young workers should be informed of the requirements involving the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. They should also be aware of their rights and obligations, including their right to refuse work that could endanger themselves or others.
Minimum age requirements: Inspectors will check whether workers meet minimum age requirements. Workers must be at least:
Internal Responsibility System: Inspectors will check that requirements for the workplace’s internal responsibility system, such as Joint Health and Safety Committees or health and safety representatives, where required, are being complied with at the workplace.
Safety measures: Inspectors will check that required safety measures and procedures are in place to prevent injuries and occupational illness. This may include requirements for safe practices for materials handling and mechanical device usage to prevent ergonomic and musculoskeletal injuries, procedures for specific equipment such as using guarding devices on machinery and the safe use of lifting devices, ladders and personal protective equipment to prevent falls. In addition, inspectors will check to ensure employers are meeting requirements for protecting workers from workplace violence and harassment.
Sector and hazard-specific inspection blitzes are an important feature of the Safe At Work Ontario enforcement initiative.
Since being launched in June 2008, the province’s team of more than 400 health and safety inspectors conducted more than 345,000 visits to workplaces, issued more than 560,000 compliance orders and conducted more than 50 proactive inspection blitzes.
For more information, visit the:
Young worker portal on the Ministry of Labour’s website
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s website for young workers with tips on starting a new job and dealing with unsafe workplaces
Ministry of Labour’s WorkSmartCampus health and safety information geared to post-secondary students
The Workers Health & Safety Centre is Ontario’s designated occupational health and safety training provider
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