The Industrial Health and Safety Program is the largest and most varied of the ministry’s four occupational health and safety programs. The program enforces the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations in 29 industries. Most workers in provincially regulated workplaces in Ontario are covered by the Industrial Health and Safety Program.

Industrial health and safety initiatives

In 2017-18, ministry inspectors conducted three inspection initiatives focused on reducing hazards related to falls, new and young workers, and machine guarding and electrical hazards.

Falls (including slips and trips)

From October 2 to November 24, 2017, ministry inspectors visited industrial workplaces to check for hazards that can cause falls, slips and trips. Fall hazards at workplaces in the industrial program can include:

  • slippery, poorly maintained or obstructed floors or other surfaces
  • poorly maintained and unsafe use of ladders
  • falls through openings in floors or other surfaces
  • falls from equipment, beds of trucks, trailers or loads

Inspectors focused on the following key priorities:

  • worker and supervisor health and safety awareness training
  • policies and programs
  • access and egress
  • safe work practices
  • falls from ladders, mobile stands and platforms
  • same level slips and trips
  • falls from trucks/loads
  • ergonomics
  • worker training

The results of the initiative indicate that workers continue to be exposed to hazards involving unsafe ladders, guardrails and slippery, poorly maintained floors or other work surfaces. Hazards involving improper material handling and unsafe lifting devices were also frequently found.

Slips, trips and falls continue to be a cause of worker injury in industrial workplaces. The ministry will continue to raise awareness of fall hazards during inspections and encourage workplaces to establish a strong internal responsibility system and hazard controls.

Initiative activity summary

  • field visits—937
  • workplaces visited—811
  • orders and requirements issued—3,412
  • stop work orders—75
  • orders and requirements per field visit—3.64
  • orders and requirements per workplace visited—4.21



New and young workers

Any new worker, of any age, is up to three times more likely to be injured during the first month on a job than at any other time performing that job.

Ministry inspectors visited workplaces that employ new and young workers in selected sectors from May 1 to August 31, 2017. These sectors included: retail, restaurants, tourism (hospitality and recreational services) and food (beverage and tobacco).

The new and young workers inspection health and safety initiative focused on:

  • new and young workers aged 14 to 24 years
  • new workers aged 25 and older who were on the job for less than six months
  • new workers aged 25 and older who were reassigned to a new job

Inspectors looked at the following key priorities:

  • training, orientation and supervision
  • internal responsibility system (IRS)
  • policies and programs
  • minimum age requirements
  • safe work practices and personal protective equipment
  • safety devices

Initiative activity summary

  • field visits—2,261
  • workplaces visited—1,779
  • orders and requirements issued—6,828
  • stop work orders—88
  • orders and requirements per field visit—3.02
  • orders and requirements per workplace visited—3.84



Machine guarding and electrical hazards

Workers can be exposed to hazards when machines are not properly guarded or locked out during maintenance, repair and other activities. These hazards can result in serious injuries, such as amputation of limbs, or death.

In this health and safety initiative, ministry inspectors visited workplaces from January 15 to February 28, 2018 in the following sectors: wood and metal fabrication, manufacturing, chemical and plastics and automotive plants. Inspectors focused on:

  • worker and supervisor health and safety awareness training
  • proper guarding of machines
  • lockout and blocking procedures
  • electrical hazards
  • power line contact
  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • internal responsibility system (IRS)
  • policies and programs

Continued enforcement is needed to improve the health and safety of workers who operate machines with exposed moving parts. The ministry will continue to raise awareness of hazards involving unguarded machines and electrical hazards.

Initiative activity summary

  • field visits—842
  • workplaces visited—694
  • orders and requirements—3,777
  • stop work orders—107
  • orders and requirements per field visit—5
  • orders and requirements per workplace visited—4



Provincial industrial enforcement initiatives

During 2017-18, provincial compliance support campaigns and enforcement initiatives in the industrial sector focused on noise and preventing “struck by” injuries.


The ministry conducted a one-year provincial enforcement initiative on noise hazards in workplaces across the province. The initiative took place between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018.

Noise is a serious health hazard and a leading cause of occupational disease in Ontario. Over time, if noise from machinery, processes and equipment is not properly eliminated or controlled it can cause permanent hearing loss.

This initiative included inspections in the following workplaces:

  • manufacturing (including wood product manufacturing and metal fabrication)
  • municipal operations (including operators of powered equipment, heavy equipment and maintenance shops)
  • automotive repair and service

Inspectors visited workplaces between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018 to check that workers were protected from hazardous sound levels. The inspectors focused on:

  • sources of noise
  • signs
  • engineering controls
  • personal protective equipment (PPE) and hearing protection devices
  • the condition of hearing protection devices
  • worker training on protective devices

Initiative activity summary

  • field visits—543
  • workplaces visited—407
  • orders and requirements—1,493
  • stop work orders—25
  • orders and requirements per field visit—2.75
  • orders and requirements per workplace visited—3.67


Preventing “struck by” injuries

From April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, Ministry of Labour inspectors checked workplaces where activities could result in “struck by” injuries. The initiative had two streams:

  • struck by materials/equipment
  • struck by moving vehicles / mobile equipment.

The initiative included visits to the following types of workplaces: automotive; logging; ceramics, glass and stone; chemical, rubber and plastics; wholesalers, including building supply centres; and wood and metal fabrication.

Inspectors checked for hazards that could result in worker injuries and deaths. They checked that employers were taking appropriate action to assess and address these hazards, as required by law. They paid special attention to:

  • the internal responsibility system (IRS)
  • worker training
  • workplace supervision
  • pre-start reviews
  • lift-trucks and other lifting devices
  • maintenance of vehicles and mobile equipment
  • pedestrian/vehicular traffic plan
  • material storage
  • racking/storage systems
  • automated systems (robots)

Initiative activity summary

  • field visits—1,926
  • workplaces visited—1,525
  • orders and requirements—6,314
  • stop work orders—156
  • orders and requirements per field visit—3.28
  • orders and requirements per workplace visited—4.14


Regional industrial enforcement initiatives

Central West Region: Food and beverage manufacturing

There has been an increase in serious injuries and deaths at food and beverage manufacturing workplaces.

From October 1 to December 31, 2017, the ministry conducted a three-month health and safety initiative to improve awareness of workplace safety hazards, and ensure employers were using appropriate controls to protect workers.

Inspectors looked at:

  • machine guarding and lockout procedures
  • ventilation and exposure to chemical hazards
  • handling and storage of materials that may tip or collapse onto a worker
  • training in basic awareness and workplace specific hazards
  • personal protective equipment
  • guardrails and mezzanines

Initiative activity summary

  • field visits—68
  • workplaces visited—52
  • orders and requirements issued—266
  • stop work orders—4
  • orders and requirements per workplace visited—5.1
  • orders and requirements per field visit—3.9

Central West Region: Temporary labour agencies

The Regional Initiative for Temporary Agencies was a joint initiative between the ministry’s Construction and Industrial Health and Safety Programs in Central West Region. Inspectors from both programs visited industrial and construction workplaces employing workers from temporary labour agencies from June 2017 to April 2018. They checked whether the temporary agencies and the workplaces were following the OHSA.

 The Initiative focused on:

  • new worker orientation
  • job-specific instruction
  • training required by the OHSA and the industrial or construction regulations
  • supervision of temporary workers
  • worker knowledge of job-specific information
  • worker knowledge of their rights and responsibilities under the OHSA
  • proper use of personal protective equipment

Initiative activity summary

  • field visits—78
  • workplaces visited—61
  • orders and requirements issued—245
  • stop work orders—8
  • orders and requirements per workplace visited—4
  • orders and requirements per field visit—3.1

Western Region: Temporary foreign workers on farms – joint initiative with WSIB

In 2017-18, the ministry, Employment and Social Development Canada and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) visited farms that hired workers from Jamaica, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. They were joined by liaison officers from the consulates of these countries on some inspections. The purpose was to provide education to employers and workers about their rights and responsibilities under the OHSA.

This initiative has resulted in:

  • improved awareness of employer and worker rights and responsibilities
  • enhanced coordination

Initiative activity summary

  • field visits—8
  • workplaces visited—6
  • orders and requirements issued—20
  • stop work orders—0
  • orders and requirements per workplace visited—3.3
  • orders and requirements per field visit—2.5

Inspections will take place in 2018/19, in a continuation of this initiative.

Western Region: Golf Courses – joint education and outreach with employment standards officers (year 1 of a two-year initiative)

The golf industry employs many young workers and part-time workers. Over the last 3 years, there were 2 critical injuries and one death involving young and part-time workers on golf courses.

Young and part-time workers are considered vulnerable workers because they are often unaware of their rights under the OHSA. This puts them at an increased risk for accidents and injuries.

The ministry is conducting a two-year initiative to support new and young workers. In 2017-18, the Western Region Industrial Health and Safety Program and employment standards regional program coordinators worked with the National Golf Course Owners Canada and the Ontario Golf Superintendents’ Association to raise awareness and provide information to their members. Inspections will take place in 2018/19, in the second phase of the initiative.

Northern Region: Lathe operations

From July 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, inspectors checked that manual and computer numerical control lathes were safely operated, maintained and equipped with the proper safeguards. The most common hazards from metal lathes included:

  • clothing being caught in moving parts, such as drive gears, lead and feed screws, and the work piece, and from improper tooling and polishing
  • being struck by loose objects, such as chuck keys, tools and other debris, and from a work piece improperly secured or oversized

Initiative activity summary

  • field visits—23
  • workplaces visited—18
  • orders and requirements issued—121
  • stop work orders—10
  • orders and requirements per workplace visited—6.7
  • orders and requirements per field visit—5.3