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June 16, 2013 - Par-Pak Ltd. of Brampton, Ont., a manufacturer of plastic food packaging products, was fined $90,000 after a worker was caught in moving machinery and injured.
May 29, 2013 - Essar Steel Algoma Ltd.—a manufacturer of steel products—was fined $250,000 for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after workers were injured.
CRS Specialties Inc., a Welland, Ont., manufacturer of rebar bending equipment, was fined $55,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a student—working there as a co-operative education placement—was injured. A further fine of $4,000 was imposed on a supervisor for a similar violation of the act during the investigation of the incident. On Mar. 23, 2011, at the company's Welland workplace, the student was taking apart a fan and washing it in a Varsol bath. When finished, the student was told to start a welding task. When beginning the task, the young worker was wearing a polyester-blend sweatshirt over overalls. Polyester materials are susceptible to ignition and should not be worn while welding. The student was not supplied with a welding jacket, welding sleeves, neck shroud or flame-retardant clothing. The supervisor did not intervene to make sure the student removed the sweatshirt and had sufficient apparel to prevent injury. While the student was welding, the sweatshirt ignited and caught fire. The student suffered second degree burns. Later, on Mar. 28, 2011, while the Ministry of Labour was investigating that incident, an inspector saw another worker in the same workplace not wearing apparel sufficient to prevent injury while welding. The worker was wearing a polyester-blend sweatshirt and only one welding sleeve. CRS Specialties Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a competent person was appointed as supervisor. Supervisor Chad Corriveau pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a worker was wearing apparel sufficient to protect the worker from injury while welding. The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace B. Phillips. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
APCO Industries Co. Ltd., a Toronto-based manufacturer and distributor of oils, greases, rust preventatives and lubricants, was fined $100,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was killed. On Jan. 28, 2011, workers were repairing a leak in the roof of a storage warehouse at the company's Toronto workplace. The warehouse roof had six plastic dome covered skylights. A worker walking backwards tripped on the flashing of a skylight and fell through it about 5.5 metres (18 feet) to the concrete floor below. The worker's injuries were fatal. An Ontario Ministry of Labour investigation found that there were no guardrails around the skylights while the workers were on the roof, nor did the skylights themselves constitute a protective covering over the opening in the roof. At no time during the repairs were the workers wearing or using any form of fall protection. APCO pleaded guilty for failing as an employer to ensure that a guardrail or protective covering was used to prevent workers from falling through the skylights. The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace John R. Cottrell. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
Falls from heights are responsible for many deaths and injuries at work sites across Canada. In 2011, about 41 per cent of deaths and 60 per cent of critical injuries involved falls from heights at construction workplaces, according to Ontario Ministry of Labour statistics. Workers are at even greater risk of slipping and falling right now due to snow, ice and frost. These hazards are mainly at construction sites, rooftops, industrial yards, outdoor shipping areas, building grounds and other exterior locations. “Workers need to maintain what I call situational awareness,” says Jim LaFontaine, health and safety manager for Dufferin Construction. “This means knowing your surroundings and being diligent about your ‘housekeeping’ by keeping walkways and other areas clear of materials and debris,” LaFontaine says. In February and March, ministry inspectors are blitzing construction and industrial workplaces. They are checking for any hazards that could cause workers to slip, trip or fall, both outdoors and indoors. “Slips, trips and falls are major hazards for workers in the construction and industrial sectors,” says George Gritziotis, Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer. “Especially in construction, falls remain the number one cause of critical injuries and fatalities,” Gritziotis says. “We’re working to improve health and safety and to prevent injuries and deaths of workers in Ontario.” LaFontaine says construction and other sites need to be kept clear because a heavy snowfall overnight can bury debris and create tripping hazards. “You just have to be so sure where you put your foot down,” says LaFontaine, who is management co-chair of Ontario’s Labour-Management Health and Safety Committee. As well, friction is greatly reduced if workers walk on construction materials like steel and plywood or climb ladders that are covered in frost, snow or ice, he says. The tread on workers' footwear needs to be in good condition and anti-slip coverings may need to be worn. LaFointaine says workers also need to be alert to possible falling snow and ice from steel and other materials overhead. “De-icing is critical on scaffolding and bridges,” LaFointaine says. “Falling ice can be very dangerous.” Workers can fall from heights as well as on the same level such as on floors, the ground and other surfaces. “When we look at the history of injuries from falls in Ontario, it’s very rarely the most complicated things that cause an injury,” says Gordon Leffley, an industrial field consultant for Workplace Safety and Prevention Services. “It’s actually the simple things that cause injuries,” he says. “Sometimes we need a little reminder of the simple things we need to pay attention to in order to prevent those injuries.”
A vegetable processing plant in Tecumseh, Ont., has been fined $65,000 after a worker was injured while cleaning a machine. On Sept. 20, 2010, a worker at the company's Tecumseh facility was cleaning a machine. Part of the machine consisted of a waste chute that contained a rotating vane to control the rate of debris falling onto a conveyor. The worker noticed debris in this part of the machine and reached a hand up through the bottom of the chute to clean the area. The machine was not equipped with a guard to prevent access to its pinch point, and the worker's arm was trapped. After a trial, on Dec. 18, 2012, Bonduelle Ontario was found guilty of failing to ensure that the machine was guarded to prevent access to its pinch point, for the safety of a worker. The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Angela Renaud. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
Ontario will conduct three heightened enforcement blitzes at workplaces across the province this winter. Inspectors from the Ministry of Labour will visit: • Underground mines to check on diesel emissions and other hazards that could affect air quality in January and February; • Industrial and construction workplaces to check for slips, trips and falls hazards in February and March; and • Health care workplaces to check on workplace violence and harassment in February and March. The blitzes will: • Raise awareness of health and safety in the workplace; • Prevent injuries and illnesses that could arise from unsafe work practices; and • Check that workplaces are complying with the law. During blitzes, inspectors will check on the condition and maintenance of safety equipment, worker training, the use of safety equipment and other potential health and safety hazards to help prevent workplace injuries. Protecting workers on the job is part of the McGuinty government's continued commitment to preventing workplace injuries through its Safe At Work Ontario strategy, while creating jobs. The blitzes are part of Ontario’s enforcement strategy to increase compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations. This past fall blitzes also targeted supervision at construction sites, machine guarding hazards at industrial workplaces, infection prevention and control at health care workplaces and ore transfer in underground mines. Since 2008, ministry inspectors have conducted more than 345,000 field visits, 47 inspection blitzes and issued more than 560,000 compliance orders in Ontario workplaces. www.labour.gov.on.ca
The condition and operation of tower cranes, mobile cranes and concrete pumping equipment continues to be a key concern in Ontario. The province’s Ministry of Labour has reported that a number of incidents involving cranes and concrete pumping equipment have resulted in death and serious injuries to workers in the past few years. Some of these incidents occurred when cranes overturned, contacted electrical conductors or when the cranes or the material being lifted struck or crushed workers when the load was dropped. Between July 1 and Aug. 31, 2012, ministry inspectors conducted a blitz of hazards involving tower cranes, mobile cranes and concrete pumping equipment. And while the inspections were limited to Ontario, the takeaways are relevant to anywhere across the country. Inspection blitzes are part of the province's Safe At Work Ontario compliance strategy. They are announced to the sector by the ministry in advance although individual workplaces are not notified in advance. The blitzes raise awareness of known workplace hazards and promote compliance with the OHSA and its regulations. During the blitz, inspectors focused on the following key priorities: • Safe access and fall prevention: Inspectors checked for the required presence and adequacy of access ladders and guardrails or other access equipment. They also checked for required fall arrest equipment to protect workers who could fall from tower cranes. • Proximity to overhead energized power lines: Inspectors checked if the crane operator maintained the minimum distance of approach from overhead energized power lines, if the voltage of such power lines was identified and if a procedure was in place to maintain the minimum distance of the crane or its load from the overhead power lines. • Tower crane maintenance and other records: Inspectors checked for records at the construction site on the condition of tower cranes, before and after erection, including a professional engineer's design drawings for tower crane installation. Inspectors checked that tower cranes were properly inspected prior to first use, and regularly inspected and maintained afterwards. Inspectors also reviewed logbook entries to ensure operational functions (such as limit and overload limit switches) were properly tested. • Mobile crane maintenance and other records: Inspectors checked for records such as the crane operator log book and operator manual. Inspectors checked that cranes were inspected and maintained as required. • Training: Inspectors checked that mobile crane operators were certified to operate a crane at a construction site or were being instructed in crane operation and accompanied by a person who had the required certification. • Various other issues: Inspectors checked on the structural, mechanical and foundational integrity of cranes, safety systems, setup, proximity to people and safe hoisting practices. The inspectors visited many types of workplaces, including sewer and water main construction and repair; commercial building construction; asphalt paving and roadwork on existing streets; hydro utility installation, underground and above ground; underground tunnel construction; cable installation involving various types of telephone, electrical and fibre optics; and hydroelectric and nuclear power plants construction activity. Inspectors issued orders at a rate of 2.53 per workplace visit. During this blitz, inspectors visited 527 construction projects and issued 1,481 orders, including 149 stop work orders. The total number of visits was 608 because some of the workplaces were visited several times. Orders were issued for various violations of the OHSA and the Regulations for Construction Projects. In general, the blitz results indicate hazards involving failure to use personal protective equipment continue to be a at concern on construction projects. Maintenance of vehicles, tools and equipment also represents a major health and safety concern. Crane-related issues (such as use of outriggers, rigging methods and equipment records) represent areas where continued vigilance is also required. There is a need for a better understanding of the regulatory requirements for constructors and employers on construction projects, such as ensuring that the necessary controls for occupational health and safety are developed and implemented at construction projects. Employers should focus on raising workplace parties' awareness of key health and safety hazards involving traffic on construction sites and during roadwork projects and thereby promoting improved health and safety for workers on construction sites with traffic and road work projects. A health and safety culture requires all workplace parties to be vigilant and to give appropriate attention to workplace health and safety. In other words, the workplace must have a well- functioning internal responsibility system in which all workplace parties take responsibility for their own health and safety and that of their co-workers. A strong commitment by everyone in the workplace is needed to prevent injuries and illness and to reduce risk. Workplace parties are encouraged to work together to identify and control crane-related hazards found on construction projects. Since 2008, ministry inspectors have conducted more than 266,000 field visits, 40 inspection blitzes and issued more than 426,000 compliance orders in Ontario workplaces.
Kitchener, Ont.'s Maple Leaf Foods Inc., a Toronto producer of frozen and prepared foods, was fined $200,000 for two violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after workers were injured in two separate incidents. On July 26, 2010, a worker at the company's Kitchener factory was operating a machine that folds and glues cardboard into boxes. The machine jammed and the worker opened its gate and reached in to remove the jam. Once the jam was cleared, the machine activated and crushed the worker's arm. An investigation found the machine's moving parts had not been stopped and blocked prior to the worker removing the jam. Maple Leaf Foods was fined $100,000 for failing to ensure that the jam was removed only when motion that could endanger the worker was stopped and the machine's moving parts were blocked. On Dec. 29, 2010, at the Kitchener factory, a worker was checking a machine to make sure sanitary standards were met before work began for the day. The worker saw a piece of plastic wrap stuck in the machine's conveyor system. The worker reached in to remove the plastic wrap and the conveyor activated when the debris was dislodged. The worker's glove got caught in the conveyor and the worker's hand was pulled into the equipment. The worker had not been instructed on the proper procedures for removing debris from the machine. The worker was also not taught how to effectively lock out power to the machine. Maple Leaf Foods was fined $100,000 for failing to ensure that the worker was provided information, instruction and supervision on the safe procedures for cleaning and locking out the machine. The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Michael Cuthbertson. In addition to the fines, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime. www.ontario.ca/labour
The Ontario Ministry of Labour has kicked off a fall safety blitz in manufacturing workplaces across the province. Throughout October and November, Ministry of Labour industrial inspectors will check on machine guarding and lockout hazards. They will also check on hazards involving musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), chemical and noise exposure and workplace violence and harassment. According to Ministry officials, hazards at manufacturing sector workplaces can result in injuries, illness or even death. The inspectors will check that: • Exposed moving parts and in-running nip hazards on machines and equipment are properly guarded. • Lockout procedures are followed to prevent machines from starting when repairs or maintenance are carried out. • Equipment is maintained in good condition. • Workers are trained and supervised on lockout procedures. • Workers are protected from other hazards. The blitz is part of the McGuinty government’s Safe at Work Ontario enforcement strategy to increase compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations. In 2010, hazards involving inadequate machine guarding and lockout procedures were among the top four causes of injuries, according to Workplace Safety and Insurance Board data. These types of injuries also tended to be the most severe. Since 2008, ministry inspectors have conducted more than 345,000 field visits, 46 inspection blitzes and issued more than 560,000 compliance orders in Ontario workplaces.
Ontario will help ensure fairness in the workplace by enhancing the enforcement of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), including the hiring of additional officers and staff. The enhanced enforcement will include more proactive inspections. These inspections encourage workplace parties to comply with the ESA before serious violations arise and complaints are filed. Complaints can be costly and time-consuming for businesses. An initial $3 million, two-year investment will allow for 18 additional Employment Standards Officers and staff. The inspections are also aimed at educating employers and employees about their rights and responsibilities under the ESA, which sets minimum standards for entitlements such as wages, hours of work and public holidays. The ministry is committed to protecting vulnerable workers, meeting the needs of a changing workforce and helping employers understand their responsibilities. Protecting workers is part of the McGuinty government’s continued commitment to ensuring a strong economy and that all Ontarians are treated fairly. Since 2004, the ministry’s Employment Standards Program has recovered more than $90 million in wages and other monies owed to employees through inspections, claims and collections. www.ontario.ca/labour
Linamar Holdings Inc., carrying on business as Transgear Manufacturing, a Guelph, Ont., car-part manufacturer, was fined $150,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured. On May 20, 2009, a worker at the company's facility in Guelph was trying to determine the cause of a leak in a machine. The worker opened the cage surrounding the machine and went into the enclosed area. The worker had not been told that the area contained exposed parts that were electrically charged. The worker's head came into contact with a charged part of the machine, causing electrical shock and burns. Linamar Holdings Inc., carrying on business as Transgear Manufacturing, was found guilty of failing to provide information about the presence of electrically charged exposed parts in the enclosed area of the machine. The court also found that the company failed to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker on the safe procedure for dealing with a leak. The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace James Ziegler. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime. www.ontario.ca/labour
Ontario is helping workers stay safe on the job by launching four targeted safety blitzes at workplaces across the province this fall. Between September and December, blitzes will focus on: September - October 2012: supervision at construction sites. October - November 2012: machine guarding hazards and repetitive strain injuries in manufacturing and industrial workplaces. October - November 2012: Infection Prevention and Control in health care workplaces. November - December 2012: transfer of ore in underground mines. During blitzes, inspectors will check on condition and maintenance of safety equipment, worker training, the use of safety equipment and other potential health and safety hazards to help prevent workplace injuries. "Our goal is to protect the health and safety of Ontario workers at construction, industrial, health care and mining workplaces," Ontario Labour Minister Linda Jeffrey said. We believe every worker has the right to return home safe and sound at the end of each work day."
Ontario will perform safety blitzes of construction sites and surface mines across Ontario this summer. In July and August, inspectors from the Ministry of Labour will visit construction sites and check for hazards involving tower and mobile cranes that could result in injury or death to workers as well as the public. Inspectors will also target activities involving the transportation of stone, sand, gravel and other raw materials at mining pits and quarries.   During the blitzes, inspectors will check on maintenance of equipment, worker training, the use of safety equipment and other potential health and safety hazards to help prevent workplace injuries. Hazards involving tower and mobile cranes can lead to catastrophic events. For example, if a poorly maintained tower crane collapses, workers on the construction site could be injured or killed. Even the public can be affected if a tower crane falls or drops a heavy load. All cranes are: getting older; exposed to the elements and weather extremes; and subject to heavy use for extended periods making them prone to stress, fatigue and breakdown. There have been a number of incidents involving serious injuries to workers, as well as some close calls, involving cranes in the past few years. Between 2007 and 2011, one worker died and seven workers were seriously injured in incidents involving a tower crane or mobile crane at construction sites across Ontario, according to Ministry of Labour reports. Inspectors will focus on the following key priorities: Safe access and fall prevention: Inspectors will check for the required presence and adequacy of access ladder and guardrails or other access equipment. They will also check for required fall arrest equipment to protect workers who may fall from tower cranes. Proximity to overhead energized power lines: inspectors will check if the operator maintains the minimum distance of approach from overhead energized power lines, if the voltage of such power lines has been identified and if a procedure is in place to maintain the minimum distance of the crane or its load from the overhead power lines. Tower crane maintenance and other records: Inspectors will check for records on the condition of the tower crane, before and after erection, including a professional engineer’s design drawings for tower crane installation. Inspectors will check that tower cranes were properly inspected prior to first use, and regularly inspected and maintained afterwards. Inspectors will also review log book entries to ensure operational functions, such as limit and overload limit switches, were properly tested. Mobile crane maintenance and other records: Inspectors will check for records such as the operator log book and operator manual. Inspectors will check that cranes were inspected and maintained as required. Training: Inspectors will check that mobile crane operators are certified to operate a crane at a construction site or are being instructed in crane operation and accompanied by a person who has the required certification. Various other issues: Inspectors will check on the structural, mechanical and foundational integrity of cranes, safety system, setup, proximity to people and safe hoisting practices. www.ontario.ca/labour
Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc., a Toronto natural gas distributor, was fined $50,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a fire at a worksite. On Sept. 30, 2009, workers were installing a new section of natural gas pipe inside the company's Lisgar Gate Pressure Regulating Station in Mississauga. The workers noticed natural gas leaking from a previously installed section of pipe and the site was evacuated. Shortly afterwards, the natural gas ignited, resulting in a fire. Nobody was injured. Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that acceptable fabrication practices were used. In July 2011, the contractor on the project, Robert B. Somerville Co. Limited, pleaded guilty to a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and was fined $50,000. The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Michael Barnes. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
Triple M Metal Corp., a Brampton company that recycles metal, was fined $75,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured. On May 25, 2010, at the company's facility in Hamilton, a worker was using a torch to cut a railcar coupling. The coupling contained a cylinder that held compressed hydraulic fluids. The torch pierced the cylinder, allowing the hydraulic fluids to escape and ignite. The worker suffered second and third degree burns. A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the company's procedures to identify hazardous materials failed to ensure that objects containing compressed hydraulic fluids were not cut using torches. Triple M Metal Corp. pleaded guilty to failing take the reasonable precaution of having a safe procedure to ensure that objects being cut contained no hazardous materials. The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Hugh Brown. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime. www.ontario.ca/labour
Gates Canada Inc., an Alberta automotive part manufacturer, was fined $55,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured. On April 12, 2010, at the company's workplace in Hamilton, workers were clearing pallets that had jammed on an assembly line. One worker had a hand on the conveyor of a machine when part of the machine cycled down, crushing the worker's hand and causing muscle damage. A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the power to that part of the assembly line had been disconnected, but there was still residual energy in one of the machine's cylinders, causing it to cycle. Gates Canada Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the machine was blocked to prevent movement while it was being maintained. The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Hugh Brown. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime. www.ontario.ca/labour
In February, the Ontario Ministry of Labour will be conducting a month-long blitz on musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the workplace. The MSD blitz will concentrate on manual material handling, especially in the industrial, construction, mining, and health care sectors. In a post on the Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium's website, they have provided basic guidelines on what to expect: If you have a visit from the ministry: The inspector will likley perform an administrative review including looking at how your workplace lives up to its roles under the Internal Responsibility System, your MSD injury statistics, your JHSC minutes, your written procedures and training on MSD hazards, and workplace controls that you have implemented or they feel should be implemented. The last blitz they identified and wrote orders for manual lifting hazards, carrying on ladders, manual lifting with one person, unnecessary repetitive lifting, pushing, pulling or carrying, improper use of transportation carts, and poor workstation layout. Be prepared: Have a well-documented MSD Prevention Program in place, know and understand the MSD hazards in your workplace, perform a workplace audit or Ergonomic Risk Assessment to understand your level of risk, have MSD-specific strategies in place to reduce risk, conduct training on MSD prevention to all levels of your organization. Review the steps to an MSD Prevention Program by downloading the MSD Prevention Services brochure here (scroll to the bottom).
Parmalat Canada Inc., a producer of milk and dairy products based in London, Ont., was fined $100,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured. On Dec. 18, 2009, at the company's facility in Mitchell, Ont., a worker was checking that a pipe system had been properly cleaned. The cleaning process involves running hot water through the pipes. While taking apart one of the valves in the pipe system, the worker was suddenly sprayed by hot water. The worker received first and second degree burns. A Ministry of Labour investigation found that there was no need for the water in the pipes to be kept hot while the worker was checking the system. Parmalat Canada Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that any water remaining in the pipe system was not hot prior to a worker opening the valves of the system. The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Lorenzo Palumbo. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime. www.ontario.ca/labour
The Ontario Ministry of Labour has released the results of its inspection blitz on access equipment and fall protection safety at construction sites. According to results, close to 3,000 orders were issued under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, including more than 200 stop-work orders. Workers can suffer serious injuries and death when access equipment is improperly used. Lack of training and non-compliance with manufacturer's instructions are often the cause of these incidents, according to the Ontario Ministry of Labour. From August 1 to August 31, 2011, Ministry of Labour inspectors conducted a blitz of hazards involving all types of access equipment at Ontario constructions sites. Inspectors checked on compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations. The blitz focused on the appropriate selection of access equipment and its safe and proper use. This included an equipment audit. The goals were to: raise awareness of access equipment hazards encourage employers to identify and control hazards address and remedy non-compliance with the OHSA and its regulations deter non-compliant employers enhance health and safety partnerships, and promote improved health and safety for workers using access equipment. Between 2003 and 2008, more than one-third of fatal falls involving construction workers involved access equipment. In total, 61 construction workers died from falls at construction sites. Of those, 24 fatalities involved access equipment. On Dec. 24, 2009, four workers fell 13 storeys to their deaths when a swing-stage came apart at a Toronto construction site. A fifth worker survived the fall. This incident prompted a review of Ontario's occupational health and safety system which led to recommendations for major changes that are currently being implemented by the ministry. In August 2011, ministry inspectors conducted 998 visits to 903 workplaces and issued 2,955 orders under the OHSA, including 243 stop-work orders. More than 16 per cent of the orders were for contraventions related to the unsafe use of access equipment. The most commonly issued orders were for lack of adequate supervision and training, and inadequate implementation of a well functioning internal responsibility system (IRS). Inspection blitzes are part of the province's Safe At Work Ontario compliance strategy. They are announced to the sector by the ministry in advance, although individual workplaces are not identified in advance. Results are posted on the Ontario labour ministry's website. The blitzes raise awareness of known workplace hazards and promote compliance with the OHSA and its regulations. Inspectors' findings may impact the frequency of future inspections to particular types of workplaces. Inspectors may also refer employers to health and safety associations for workplace compliance assistance and training. The results of the ministry's blitz on access equipment indicate that safe use of access equipment and fall protection continue to be the two major health and safety concerns related to access equipment on construction projects. Inspectors also noted a lack of compliance with personal protective equipment and housekeeping requirements. These findings demonstrate a need for increased worker supervision and a better understanding of legislative knowledge among supervisors. The absence of basic safety-related personal protective equipment also demonstrates a need for increased importance to be placed on fundamental safety practices on construction projects. The relatively high percentage of orders related to emergency procedures (seventh on the list of most issued orders) is an indicator that workers are not exercising their OHSA rights to know, participate and refuse unsafe work. There is a need for increased engagement in health and safety practices among all workplace parties, the ministry said in a statement. Employers should focus on training, self-compliance, personal protective equipment, fall protection, utilizing tools and equipment as per manufacturers' instructions, hazard assessments and emergency procedures. The results of this blitz confirm a continued need for training, education and enforcement activities across all construction sectors. The ministry said it will continue to focus on: compliance with the administrative responsibilities of workplace parties under the OHSA and its regulations; and injury and illness performance in the construction industry, including major hazards and key issues identified during the blitz. Find more details about the results of the inspection blitz on access equipment on the Ministry of Labour's website. The Ministry of Labour also offers a downloadable access equipment safety poster available on its website.
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