In July, 2008, the Ontario Ministry of Labour (“MOL”) announced that its Inspectors would be “blitzing” Ontario’s workplaces to help eliminate specific hazards to health and safety.
It also reported that it would be concentrating on workplaces with younger workers and workers who were new to their jobs.
The targeted blitzes are part of the MOL’s new four year “Safe At Work – Ontario” plan launched in June, 2008. The targeted blitzes are part of the MOL’s new four year “Safe At Work – Ontario” plan launched in June, 2008.
The MOL announced that it would begin targeting demolition sites in August, 2008. In September, Inspectors would focus on industrial workplace hazards that could cause workers to fall. In November, 2008, Inspectors began focusing on electrical hazards in industrial workplaces. The plan is to focus on industrial sector forklift operations and construction site conditions beginning early in 2009.
In October, 2008, the MOL reported that Inspectors would be reviewing workplace procedures to protect workers from electrical hazards, such as lock out procedures, ensuring power supplies are disconnected before work begins, and other means to protect workers where there was no practical means to disconnect power. It reported that since 1998, there were 69 workers killed, 263 critically injured, and 844 who received minor injuries as a result of electrical hazards. Approximately 50% of those incidents involved workers who were working on electrical equipment while it was energized.
The Ontario MOL currently employs 430 full-time Occupational Health and Safety Inspectors. In 2006/2007, the MOL conducted 65,533 inspections, almost a 90% increase over 2004/2005 inspection rates. The number of Orders issued by Inspectors increased by almost 95% from 2004/2005 levels to 175,334 over all industry sectors.
Any employer with workers exposed to electrical hazards must ensure these hazards are identified in the workplace and controlled through safe operating and lock-out/tag-out procedures, as well as appropriate personal protective equipment. In addition, ensure that workers are made aware of electrical hazards and that proper training is provided for their safety.