Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
Inspectors from the Ministry of Labour (MOL) are holding a workplace safety blitz, in an effort to prevent the most common worker injuries.
Started in October, Labour Minister Monte McNaughton said the three-month project will see inspectors focus on musculoskeletal-injury and respiratory-illness prevention.
“My top priority is workplace safety,” he said. “We all need to be careful about the way we are working. Lifting, carrying and even sitting the wrong way can lead to injuries.”
In 2017, musculoskeletal injuries accounted for about one-third of all lost-time injury claims excepted by Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). They resulted in 19,000 claims, 462,000 days lost from work and $72 million in costs.
The blitz will focus on workplaces in the construction, healthcare, industrial and mining sectors.
The inspections will also look at ways to prevent breathing hazards including gases, dusts, vapours and fumes that can lead to illnesses.
Musculoskeletal injuries result from repetitive work, heavy lifting and carrying, as well as awkward postures that affect people’s bones, joints, ligaments and other soft tissues. Back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tendinitis are three prominent examples of musculoskeletal injuries.
McNaughton said staff have been reaching out to employers about the inspections for a number of weeks.
“This enforcement initiative will help prevent needless suffering for thousands of workers and ensure they are safe on the job.”
Inspections may include the following checks:
- that materials and people are being lifted and moves safely, and items are stored so they can be safely accessed;
- that precautions are being taken if workers are exposed to prolonged vibration, specifically to the hands and arms;
- that work is performed safely on ladders;
- that workers are equated with respiratory hazards in the workplace and work areas have proper ventilation;
- that workers who are required to use personal protective equipment (PPE) are trained on its correct use and the PPE is accessible when required; and
- that PPE is properly maintained and is in good condition.
The current Ontario safety blitz is expected to conclude on December 27, 2019.
The Ministry of Labour (MOL), for many years, have been working towards the prevention of accidents and injuries in the workplace and one of the better tools that they use are sector workplace blitzes.
Employers are given enough notice to make internal corrections before they ever show up. Mind you, many employers do not heed the warnings laid out by the Ministry and tend to receive fines or stop-work orders that could shut a business down.
Please ensure that your company is always striving, (a good term to use his continuous improvement), towards a safer environment. It is not difficult, and it does not have to be costly, if you have the right people.
HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. Let us help you build a safer workplace.
Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.