Ontario targets industrial workplaces in May

Safety blitz designed to protect workers from hazards that can cause slips, trips and falls

Ministry of Labour inspectors will be fanning out across Ontario this month, targeting industrial workplaces to protect workers from hazards that can cause slips, trips and falls. In 2009, falls killed 11 industrial workers in the province and slips, trips and falls cause about one in five injuries and one in four fatalities at industrial workplaces.

Inspectors will be looking for fall-from-height hazards involving platforms, raised floors, mezzanines and balconies. They will also check fall-arrest equipment and guardrails and look out for improper use of ladders and dangerous practices such as working on storage racks.

For each violation of the Occupatioanl Health and Safety Act, a court can impose a fine up to $500,000 against a corporation. Individuals face a fine of up to $25,000, imprisonment of up to 12 months or both.

This blitz is the third since 2008 that has focused on fall hazards in industrial workplaces.

Sophie Dennis, assistant deputy minister, operations division at the Ministry of Labour, told attendees at the Partners in Prevention conference in Toronto that the province will be conducting numerous blitzes throughout the year — and they will be announcing them in advance.

Dennis said the Ministry of Labour is taking a page from the Ontario Provincial Police on this front, which typically announces its long weekend traffic enforcement blitzes ahead of time. That way, employers will have no excuses if they are caught breaking safety rules, she said.

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