Ministry of Labour (MOL) inspectors are responsible for enforcing the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations at workplaces across the province. As part of the Safe At Work Ontario strategy, they focus on specific industry sectors where there are high injury rates, a history of non-compliance and specific workplace hazards. They will also continue to verify overall compliance with the OHSA and its regulations. Inspectors are not limited to inspecting the issues identified in this document as Safe At Work Ontario areas of focus, and will take enforcement action as appropriate to the situation at each workplace inspected.
Note: Injury and illness trends: The program uses Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) data to identify injury and illness trends. Trend analyses of the number of fatalities, critical injuries, lost-time injuries (LTIs), LTI rates and the costs associated with WSIB claims for each sector are used by the program to identify sectors for blitz initiatives. In addition to this information, inspectors also review the compliance history and known hazards inherent to the type of work to select which workplaces to visit.
In addition to their general inspection duties, construction inspectors will conduct three province-wide, blitz campaigns in 2017-2018.
|Month, year||Enforcement campaign/blitz topic||Key points|
June 1, 2017 – July 31, 2017
|Supervisor awareness and accountability|
September 1, 2017 – November 30 , 2017
October 2, 2017 – November 24, 2017
|Falls – ladder safety|
Tips on how to prepare for an MOL blitz/initiative inspection
Before the inspector’s visit
- Check your accident experience in relation to the blitz/initiative topic.
- Review OHSA sections and regulations that may apply based on the blitz’s/initiative’s focus.
- Determine whether you are currently meeting or exceeding the minimum legal requirements in those areas.
- Consult with MOL Health and Safety Partners for specific information and services that may help you prepare.
- Review the ministry’s blitz-related material.
- Discuss compliance strategies with your Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) or Health and Safety Representative (HSR).
During the visit
- Ensure all required documentation is available to the ministry inspector.
- Ensure supervisor and worker health and safety representative are available.
- Ensure the workplace parties co-operate with the ministry inspector.
The inspector will focus on:
- compliance with the OHSA and its regulations.
- health and safety programs and policies related to the blitz topic, if applicable.
- Internal Responsibility System (IRS) training requirements and any deficiencies.
- record of injuries, including blitz/initiative related issues/hazards.
- workplace specific hazards related to the blitz/initiative.
Note: Inspectors can legally enter a project or workplace at any time without warrant or prior notice (OHSA section 54(1)(a)). An inspector will identify himself/herself by means of ministry identification. No person shall hinder, obstruct, molest or interfere with or attempt to hinder, obstruct, molest or interfere with an inspector in the exercise of a power or the performance of a duty under this act or the regulations or in the execution of a warrant issued under this act or the Provincial Offences Act with respect to a matter under this act or the regulations.
Date: June 1, 2017 – July 31, 2017 (2 months)
Type: Construction Provincial
Workplace parties must take part in their legally-required duties. This is essential to the establishment of a strong IRS in the workplace. Supervisors play a key role in the IRS at a construction project.
Often the workplace parties are not physically at the construction site. In some cases they may not be in a position to directly or regularly observe and interact with other workplace parties. For this reason, senior management, directors, and owners of construction firms have a significant challenge and responsibility to put in place competent supervisors and develop adequate monitoring systems to deal with workplace safety concerns (including oversight of safety) on construction projects. Typically, site supervisors are the first line of contact at a construction project.
A supervisor is a person appointed by the employer who has charge of a workplace or authority over a worker. Even if the worker is acting as supervisor in the absence of the usual supervisor, if the worker has been given charge or authority over other workers, then that person has the legal responsibilities of a supervisor under the OHSA.
The supervisor must be a “competent person” which means they are qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organize and direct work. A competent supervisor must also be familiar with the OHSA and any potential or actual hazards of the work.
Supervisors are the employer’s representative on a construction project. Their responsibilities include monitoring the project’s progress and ensuring workers’ health and safety. Supervisors plan the project’s work and oversee its implementation. They assign tasks to their workers and provide them with advice and direction. Supervisors are the main vehicle of communication for their employer and for the other employers on the project.
The focus of this blitz is to check that supervisors:
- are aware of their OHSA and regulatory duties
- have been provided awareness training
- are fulfilling their regulatory duties.
Injury type: There are various types of injuries that can occur if the supervisor duties and responsibilities of the OHSA and the Regulation for Construction Projects are not met.
Possible causes: Failure to advise a worker of the existence of any potential or actual danger to the health or safety of the worker of which the supervisor is aware.
Things to look for: Regular ‘tailgate’ meetings, routine inspections, housekeeping practices.
Note: Injury types are based on a review of historical Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) data and the possible causes were determined with input from Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) data. The list of possible causes and things to look for is not exhaustive.
- Supervisory engagement in construction
- A guide to the Occupational Health and Safety Act
- Construction project supervisors (video)
Date: September 1, 2017 – November 30, 2017 (3 months)
Type: Construction Provincial
This sector continues to be a main source of injuries in Ontario. Inspectors will visit residential projects to ensure that worker safety is protected against the various types of hazards that exist at this type of construction site.
The health and safety of workers must not be put at risk by the constant activity, the use of large equipment and the handling of heavy material that takes place at residential construction projects. Contact with overhead power lines, excavation collapses, hazards associated with equipment operation, material handling, exposure to falls and carbon monoxide exposure are some of the causes of injuries or illness at these sites.
The focus of this blitz is to check for:
- regulatory requirements being met regarding the control of exposure to biological or chemical agents (i.e. lead, silica, carbon monoxide)
- occupational health issues (i.e. carbon monoxide)
- scaffolding assembled, used and disassembled safely
- safe stacking of roof shingles
- safety precautions taken when trusses are installed
- proper use of ladders
- fall protection systems in place, such as guardrails, appropriate fall protection protective equipment and adequate tie off points
- ergonomic factors when moving heavy materials
- heavy equipment operation, including line-of-sight hazards.
Injury type: falls to below working surface
- inadequate fall protection equipment or improper use
- lack of guardrails or inadequate guardrail systems or installation procedures.
Things to look for:
- appropriate fall protection equipment that is used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
- work surface openings/areas that require a guardrail system.
Note: Injury types are based on a review of historical Workplace Safety and Insurance Board data; the possible causes were determined with input from Infrastructure Health and Safety Association data. The list of possible causes and things to look for is not exhaustive.
- Manual materials handling: construction (video)
- Occupational exposure limits
- A guide to the noise regulation (O. Reg. 381/15)
- A guide to the regulation respecting asbestos on construction projects and in buildings and repair operations
- Safe roofing at low-rise residential construction projects
Date: October 2, 2017 – November 24, 2017 (8 weeks)
Type: Construction Provincial
Ladders are used throughout the construction industry. Ladders that are used improperly or are poorly maintained can result in serious injuries due to falls. Improper positioning while working from a ladder can result in musculoskeletal injuries unless prevention/ergonomic safe practices are practiced.
Improper use of ladders on construction projects continues to be a major cause of workplace injuries in Ontario.
The focus of this blitz is to check:
- that ladders are used according to manufacturer’s instructions
- the condition of equipment
- set up and use
- ergonomic practice.
Injury type: There are two main injury types associated with ladder use: musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and falls.
Possible causes: MSD injuries can occur when over-stretching or reaching. Falls can occur if the ladder is not set up properly, the ground is uneven, the physical condition of the ladder is poor, failing to maintain three-point contact, or an alternate means of working at heights is not used.
Things to look for: Whether the work being performed requires the use of a ladder or some other means of working at heights, the physical condition of the ladder, how the ladder is being used (i.e. maintain three-point contact)
Note: Injury types are based on a review of historical Workplace Safety and Insurance Board data and the possible causes were determined with input from Infrastructure Health and Safety Association data. The list of possible causes and things to look for is not exhaustive.