The Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) has announced that inspectors will be conducting safety inspection blitzes on “Slips, Trips and Falls (ladder safety and fall protection hazards)” in February/March of this year, focusing on industrial and construction sector workplaces.
If an MOL inspector observes a violation of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) or its regulations during a safety inspection, the inspector may issue an order for compliance. Depending on the type of order, the employer may be required to stop work, achieve compliance immediately, or achieve compliance within a certain time frame after the inspection. The MOL may prosecute any person for violating OHSA or its regulations, or for failing to comply with an order of an inspector. If convicted of an offence under OHSA or its regulations, an individual can be fined up to $25,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 12 months, and a corporation can be fined up to $500,000.
Under OHSA, employers have a general duty to take all reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of workers, and to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect worker health and safety. The MOL has produced several publications and tools to specifically address slips, trips and falls, including fact sheets, guidelines, and a safety tip card, which are posted on its online resource webpage.
As a reminder, OHSA also requires employers to develop and implement a health and safety program and policy, a workplace violence and harassment program and policy, and to post copies of these policies and the OHSA in the workplace.