The Ontario Ministry of Labour develops sector-specific enforcement plans that focus on hazards specific to certain workplaces. This project is part of Safe at Work Ontario, the Ministry of Labour’s compliance strategy for enforcing the Occupational Health and Safety Act (The “OHSA”). The plans outline what inspectors will be looking for in each sector during an inspection. The plans developed for 2010-2011 include construction, industrial, mining, healthcare, and specialized and professional services.

The Construction Sector Plan covers the construction and diving industries. The plan advises that Inspectors will be focusing on the new workplace violence provisions under the OHSA, and the changes to certain provisions of the Construction Regulation (O.Reg 213/91) in the areas of stilts, wooden guardrails, CSA standards for fall protection equipment, electrical utility safety rules, marine safety equipment and lifejackets, locates of underground services, and engineering drawings for certain structures. A summary of the changes in the Regulation can be found at: http://www.elaws. gov.on.ca/html/source/regs/englis h/2009/elaws_src_regs_r09443_e. In the coming year, Inspectors will concentrate on workplaces that have higher than average rates of lost-time injuries and are repeat or serious violators of the OHSA and its regulations. 23,000 inspections are planned for 2010-2011 fiscal year.

In addition to the compliance issues listed above, Inspectors will be focusing their inspections on how well the Internal Responsibility System is functioning in the workplace as well as on sector-specific hazards.

With respect to the Internal Responsibility System, a key focus will be ensuring that a proper JHSC is functioning in the workplace, along with ensuring that proper policies and procedures are in place to protect workers. Inspectors will also be checking to ensure that good prevention and assistance provisions are in place.

The following sector-specific hazards will be the focus of the inspections:  

  • Falls  
  • Use of equipment (both heavy and light)  
  • Occupational illness and disease  
  • “Struck by” construction vehicles/ equipment and non-construction vehicles  

Additionally, Inspectors have been instructed to pay attention to hazards in the seven trades with the highest injury rate: formwork, demolition, siding and outside finishing, masonry, residential, roofing, heavy civil construction, millwrighting and welding.

The general hazards that will be focused on for these trades and others include electrical hazards, equipment, ergonomic issues, falls between levels and slips and falls, noise, occupational disease, WHIMIS exposure.

Blitzes on falls, new and young workers and musculoskeletal disorders took place during the spring and summer and will be on-going. The following blitzes will take place in the late fall and early new year:

  • Compliance with Violence in Workplace requirements  
  • Provision of worker training, personal protective equipment, written safety measures and procedures, and supervision for new and young workers  
  • Training, provision and maintenance of equipment, written measures and procedures and supervision to prevent musculoskeletal disorders