Occupational Health and Safety Update: Chief Prevention Officer Issues Annual Report

Nov 17, 2014

On October 30, 2014 Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer submitted the “Occupational Health and Safety in Ontario: 2013-14 Annual Report” to the Ontario Minister of Labour.

This Annual Report includes the following information:

Size of the Ontario Workforce

In 2013, 6.88 million workers were employed in Ontario. Over the last four years, employment has increased at an average annual rate of 1.43 per cent. This increase includes a total of 95,700 net new jobs in 2013

Number of Deaths & Critical Injuries

In 2013, 102 workplace fatalities were reported in Ontario. The majority of fatalities were men between the ages of 45 and 49 who worked in the construction, transportation and service sectors. Most of these fatalities were due to motor vehicle incidents and falls. There were also 1130 critical injuries in 2013.

Number of Inspections

In 2013-14, the Ministry of Labour conducted more than 73,000 field visits to nearly 33,000 workplaces, and issued more than 126,000 orders for non-compliance with requirements in the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.

Enforcement

$9.31 million in fines were imposed and 780 convictions were entered against workplace parties who were found by the courts to have contravened the Act and its regulations.

Small Businesses

In 2013 and 2014, the Ministry of Labour inspected new small businesses with fewer than 20 workers in the industrial sector. The focus was on businesses that had registered with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board but had no prior contact with the ministry. Through this initiative, the ministry conducted 1,589 field visits to 1,190 workplaces and issued 4,014 orders under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.

Most Vulnerable workers

A recent study by the Institute for Work and Health, showed that: Low-wage workers employed through temporary agencies are less protected from occupational injury or illness than regular workers; and the time of day when people work influences vulnerability. Workers are at higher risk of work-related injury, illness or fatality in the evening, night and early morning.

Lessons to be Learned:

1. The MOL is targeting the most vulnerable workers, and addressing the most common safety hazards. This has resulted in safety blitzes in certain sectors. In 2013, the Ministry of Labour inspection blitzes resulted in nearly 9,000 field visits to over 7,000 workplaces, creating over 23,000 orders, approximately 1,000 of which were stop work orders. Blitz topics included sector-specific hazards in the construction, industrial, health care and mining programs.

2. The MOL is educating workers about their health & safety rights. As of July 1, 2014 every employee should have received mandatory occupational health & safety training.

3. In 2013-14, Ontario’s health and safety system invested a total of around $300 million in occupational health and safety. About $ 95.2 million was devoted to enforcement. Fines for a violation of OHSA often exceed $ 50 000.

For the past 25 years, Doug MacLeod of the MacLeod Law Firm has been advising employers on health & safety issues. If you have any questions concerning your rights and obligations in relation to your employees, you can contact him at 416 317-9894 or at [email protected]

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