The Ontario government is planning a workplace inspection blitz that includes 1,300 construction sites in COVID-19 hot spots throughout the province
Beginning Friday, April 16, the province will dispatch 200 workplace inspectors, supported by provincial offences officers to enforce safety requirements at the jobsites.
The officers will also visit more than 500 workplaces, including big box stores, food processors, manufacturers and warehouses, in Ottawa, Toronto and York Region.
The plan was announced on April 15 by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
“Construction workers continue to be needed on the frontlines to build hospitals, testing centres, broadband and other critical infrastructure our province needs,” McNaughton said.
“We’ve inspected these worksites regularly throughout the pandemic, but it is more important than ever, with these new variants spreading, that we continue to ensure that construction worksites are following the rules and that workers who still go to work every day are protected.”
The inspectors will check that employers understand the risks associated with COVID-19, including how to reduce the spread in their workplace, and that measures and procedures are in place to keep workers safe.
They will also ensure that workers are practising safe work habits both on the clock and on breaks, checking for physical distancing and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment when required.
Hot-spot workplace inspections in Ottawa, Toronto and York Region build on recent intensified inspection campaigns in Peel and Halton Regions last weekend. The campaigns will focus on enforcing the COVID-19 safety requirements and identifying those who are not following the rules.
Violations may result in fines of up to $750 for individuals and $1,000 for businesses.
Since Jan. 1, occupational health and safety inspectors and provincial offences officers have conducted more than 20,300 COVID-related workplace inspections and investigations across the province, including 17,442 inspections of construction sites. During those visits, they’ve issued more than15,600 orders and more than 500 COVID-19 related tickets, and stopped unsafe work related to COVID-19 a total of 26 times.
Workplace COVID-19 safety fact sheets, guides and posters are available at Ontario.ca/covidsafety. These include multilingual tip sheets for employers.