Ont.’s Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development launches manufacturing inspection campaign
by Sadi Muktadir
Ont.'s Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development also stated that they are hoping to see less material handling infractions.
The Ontario government’s Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development says they have launched a campaign to inspect workplace safety and accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Beginning May 1st, hundreds of inspectors across the province have begun visiting manufacturing and farming production workplaces to ensure that businesses are in compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The campaign is focused on material handling in the manufacturing and farming sectors, a common cause of workplace injuries and fatalities. (Material handling includes the movement of materials or products within a workplace and may involve equipment like forklifts or conveyor belts).
Canadian Manufacturing reached out to the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development to clarify which industries would be targeted. They confirmed that the campaign will focus on sectors where material handling is common and production is taking place, including:
- Farming and agricultural services
- Chemical, rubber, and plastics
- Food, beverage & tobacco
- Industrial services
- Primary metals
- Pulp & paper
- Wood and Metal Fabrication
Inspectors may visit any kind of workplace within the sector. The workplaces inspectors visit are determined using a risk-based process that considers:
- injury, illness and fatality data;
- health and safety research; and
- feedback from industry partners and inspectors.
When queried about rough numbers regarding how many workplaces they intended to visit, the ministry said they conduct “thousands of proactive visits each year, including our compliance campaigns. Last year, ministry inspectors conducted over 67,800 field visits, including nearly 36,000 proactive visits, and issued over 98,900 orders.”
Ont.’s Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development also stated that they are hoping to see less material handling infractions. They say that material handling continues to be a significant cause of workplace injuries and fatalities in these sectors, which is why it’s the focus of this year’s campaign. Common concerns with material handling include lifting devices/mobile equipment/cranes, workplace layout and design, manual material handling, storage systems, automation, and machine guarding, blocking and lockout.
The focal point for inspectors will be on workers who handle materials and the equipment used to handle these materials and that employers are taking appropriate action to assess and address these hazards in industrial workplaces.
In addition to looking specifically at material handling hazards, inspectors will check that employers are identifying other workplace hazards, complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and have workplace safety policies in place.
The ministry conducts compliance initiatives every year, although the focus may change.
When asked how often new technologies such as AI or automation were audited as part of the safety inspections, the ministry says that they “continue to address new and emerging technologies and that automation is one of the key areas of focus.” Inspectors will ensure that machines that are moving product do so in a manner that does not pose a hazard to workers (safe zones where automated machines operate, a lock-out/tag out program or other safe guards if a worker is required to enter the safe zone, etc.).
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