Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development has announced workplace inspectors will begin a safety blitz that focuses on construction sites throughout the province.
During the safety blitz, inspectors will focus on personal protective equipment, including high visibility clothing, skin protection (like gloves), face shields, eye protection, and hearing protectors.
Without PPE equipment, workers can suffer cuts, punctures, chemical burns, electric shocks, exposure to excessive noise or vibration and many other harmful risks.
“We’re doing this to save lives,” McNaughton said. “One death on a jobsite is one too many. I want everyone in this province to know we’re doing our best to ensure that their loved ones come home safe after a hard day’s work.”
The safety blitz will run until March 13, and follows four weeks of outreach to the province’s construction sector to educate and assist in safety compliance.
In addition to construction sites, ministry inspectors will also visit road building projects.
“Everyone has a role here,” McNaughton said. “Employers have to provide equipment to their workers and workers have to wear it properly.”
The safety blitz is part of the government’s Safe At Work Ontario strategy. The goal is to improve worker health and safety by helping employers comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations.
In 2017 alone, the ministry issued 7,483 orders for lack of personal protective equipment on projects. This was the second highest Occupational Health and Safety Act violation in construction workplaces for 2017.
As well, 25 per cent of Ontario workers in the construction industry believe their workplace was not safe during the previous 12 months compared to 19 per cent across all other sectors, according to a recent survey.
Ontario’s inspectors will conduct proactive visits to help raise awareness of known workplace hazards; advise workplace parties of their rights, duties and responsibilities; promote the internal responsibility system; provide compliance assistance; and check that workplaces are following occupational health and safety legislation.