Overview

Health and safety inspection initiatives are part of the province’s Safe At Work Ontario compliance strategy.

These initiatives are announced to sectors in advance. However, individual workplaces are not identified in advance.

Results from province-wide initiatives are posted on the ministry’s website. The initiatives are intended to raise awareness of workplace hazards and promote compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations.

Engineers, ergonomists, hygienists and radiation protection officers will support the construction, health care, industrial and mining sector initiatives, including two all-sector initiatives for:

  • slips, trips and falls
  • musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and respiratory diseases

Ergonomics - municipalities

Phase 1: Compliance assistance

Dates: April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2020

Partner(s): Public Services Health and Safety Association (PSHSA)

In April 2018, a letter was sent to all municipalities with greater than 50 full time equivalent employees to inform them about the initiative and invite them to attend an information webinar. Two information webinars were held in May 2018, with presenters from the Ministry of Labour and PSHSA providing information about the focus of the initiative and the type of support PSHSA would be able to provide municipalities. One webinar was recorded and posted on the PSHSA website and a frequently asked questions document was also developed and posted on the PSHSA website.

Phase 2: Focused inspections

Dates: April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020

Ministry of Labour ergonomists will perform an administrative review and physical inspection(s) for each municipality visited. The administrative review will focus on the entire municipality, while the physical inspection will focus on the public works department.

Rationale

Municipalities have above-average lost time injury rates and musculoskeletal disorder rates, and they have not been a focus of ergonomics initiatives before now.

Initiative focus

Ergonomists will focus on the following key priorities:

  • musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) prevention
  • contact with and struck by hazards that are due to visibility issues while operating vehicles and mobile equipment
  • falls due to a worker not being able to maintain their balance while working (e.g. from a ladder)

Resources and compliance support

  • The ministry’s ergonomics in the workplace page explains occupational health and safety laws related to ergonomics and includes resources and guidance on ways to address hazards from poor ergonomics.
  • The MSD Prevention Guideline for Ontario includes fact sheets, step-by-step guidelines on organizing a workplace program to prevent MSDs, a risk assessment tool, quick summaries of basic MSD hazards and a large resource library.

Other inspection focuses

Ergonomics

Ministry of Labour ergonomists will also focus on workplaces that have a history of MSDs. A list of workplaces will be developed from Workplace Safety and Insurance Board data and workplaces will be looked at based on their MSD history and whether or not they have received a previous proactive inspection focusing on MSD prevention.

Resources and compliance support

The ministry’s ergonomics in the workplace page explains occupational health and safety laws related to ergonomics and includes resources and guidance on ways to address hazards from poor ergonomics.

Updated: July 30, 2021
Published: March 26, 2019