Ontario conveyor guarding, lockout hazards blitz results

Guarding violations most common in industrial workplaces

In November and December, 2010, Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) inspectors issued 3,092 orders under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), including 111 stop work orders, during its conveyor guarding and lockout blitz.

Inspectors conducted 1,097 field visits to 833 workplaces in the industrial sector where conveyors are used, including farming, automobile, saw mills and computer plants.

In particular, inspectors targeted establishments known to have conveyors; known to have hazardous processes and equipment; where complaints have been received; and where there is a poor compliance history.

During the conveyor guarding blitz, inspectors checked that conveyors had proper guarding devices; conveyors area was being locked out when needed; and conveyor workers were protected from developing musculoskeletal disorders, such as repetitive strain injuries.

More than 30 per cent of the orders involved guarding violations under the Regulations for Industrial Esstablishments. This indicated that the workplaces visited required improvements to ensure workers were not exposed to moving parts and pinch points that could endanger their safety, according to the MOL.

Almost 20 per cent of the orders involved employer duty violations under the OHSA.

Conveyor-related injuries occur less often than other types of injuries in industrial workplaces. However, the injuries that do occur tend to be more severe. Between 2005 and 2008, two workers died and 48 workers were seriously injured in conveyor incidents.

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