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Ontario inspectors conduct jobsite safety blitz aimed at younger workers

Vince Versace

Ontario inspectors are now blitzing worksites and locations across the province in order to make an immediate impact on improving health and safety, said Ontario’s labour minister.

Occupational Health and Safety

Ontario inspectors are now blitzing worksites and locations across the province in order to make an immediate impact on improving health and safety, said Ontario’s labour minister.

“We are trying to target areas where we can make an impact and difference,” said Brad Duguid, labour minister.

Ministry inspectors began the blitz recently and they are concentrating on workplaces with workers aged 24 and younger, and those employing workers of any age, who are new to their jobs.

Included in this ongoing series of blitzes, inspectors will be checking construction sites for electrical hazards.

“Approximately 20 per cent of construction sector fatalities in 2007 were related to electricity,” said Duguid.

The province has hired 200 new health and safety inspectors to strengthen its Safe At Work Ontario initiative launched in June. Ontario employs a total of 430 full-time occupational health and safety inspectors.

The Safe at Work plan allows inspectors more flexibility to conduct proactive checks of workplaces with a higher-than-average potential for injuries, noted Duguid.

The factors inspectors will use to determine high-risk work sites are injury rates and associated costs, a company’s workplace safety compliance history and the presence of young workers.

Inspectors will use their discretion during their visits.

If an infraction is worth just a warning or quick consultation, it will be just that.

However, if there is a serious issue, inspectors and the province will not tolerate it, said Duguid.

Future health and safety inspections blitzes will focus on the following areas:

• Demolition sites in August

• Industrial workplace hazards that could cause falls or exposure to electrical hazards in September

• Industrial sector forklift operations and site conditions that could cause workers to be struck by equipment are areas which will be looked at early next year.

The labour ministry reports that its safety compliance program between April 1, 2004 and March 31, 2008, reduced the workplace injury rate by 50,000 incidents (20 per cent).

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