Ontario safety blitz coming your way

Inspectors will targets slips, trips and falls.

TORONTO — Ontario Ministry of Labour inspectors will be blitzing manufacturers looking for slip, trip and fall hazards between Feb. 2 and March 15.

Part of the 2008 Safe At Work Ontario enforcement initiative, the blitz will target food, beverage and tobacco products, wood and metal fabrication plants.

The MOL cites 11 work-related deaths from falls, most from roofs, ladders, scaffolds or other elevated work surfaces, while more than 70% of fall-related injuries in all sectors were due to falls on floors and other surfaces.

The blitz will pay particular attention to plants that the MOL says are known to have a high-frequency of injuries involving falls, subject of complaints or where there’s a history of non-compliance.

If you expect your plant to be part of the blitz, the MOL has provided a list of priorities:

• Policies and programs. Do you have policies and programs in place to protect workers from slips, trips and falls such as requirements for good “housekeeping” practices and ensuring that an investigation is conducted when there are fall-related incidents? Inspectors will look for emergency rescue procedures for workers who fall or whose fall arrest equipment is activated.

• Access and egress. Is there appropriate access and egress to work areas.

• Safe work practices. Inspectors will check that employers have developed safe work practices, including assessing slip, trip and fall risks. They will also check to see if workers are following safe work practices, for example, cleaning up spills and safely using ladders, mobile stands and platforms.

Falls from ladders, mobile stands and platforms. Have ladders, stands and platforms been assessed for hazards? Is this equipment maintained and placed on firm footing when in use?

Same-level slips and trips. Are floors and other work surfaces kept free of obstructions, hazards (such as oily or greasy floors) and accumulations of refuse, snow or ice? Special attention will be paid to walkways, aisles and other areas where there is pedestrian traffic.

Falls from heights. Fall arrest equipment and/or guardrails or other safety equipment will be checked for work on platforms, raised floors, mezzanines, balconies or other work at heights.

Falls from trucks/loads. Are workers using safe work practices where they may be exposed to the hazard of falling from the beds of trucks, trailers or the top of loads?

Ergonomics. Are workers performing tasks in a manner that prevents slips, trips and falls? Their posture, use of force and other ergonomic factors will be checked.

Personal protective equipment and safety devices. Are they maintained in good condition?

Worker training. Inspectors will check that workers receive information, instruction and supervision to prevent injuries and deaths from slip, trip and fall hazards including the right to refuse unsafe work.

Check these links for more information:

Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)

Regulations for Industrial Establishments

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