Safety Blitz to Focus on Industrial Workplace Hazards
November 06 2014
Ministry of Labour inspectors are targeting hazards involving machines not properly guarded, locked out or blocked during a six-week blitz of industrial workplaces across Ontario this fall.
From November 3 until December 16, inspectors will visit industrial workplaces to ensure employers, supervisors and workers are complying with requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations.
Workers can suffer serious injuries such as amputation of limbs or even death if machines have improper or missing guards, or if improper lockout procedures are used.
In 2012, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) received the following claims from workers for lost-time injuries (LTIs) – injuries that resulted in workers having to take time off work:
• LTI claims from 1,976 workers who were caught in or compressed by equipment;
• LTI claims from 305 workers who were rubbed or abraded by friction, pressure or jarred by vibration; and
• LTI claims from 367 workers who had body parts amputated.
In 2013, 17 per cent (or 2,737) of all orders issued by Ministry of Labour inspectors under the Regulations for Industrial Establishments were for machine guarding and lockout violations.
Hazards involving unguarded machines and improper lockout and blocking can include worker exposure to:
• pinch points and in-running nip hazards that are created when two or more mechanical parts rotate in opposite directions in close proximity to one another. If part of a worker’s body (such as hair, hand or limb) or clothing contacts the nip point, the worker can be drawn into the machine, resulting in serious injury or death; and
• moving parts if equipment is not properly locked and blocked during maintenance and repair.
During the blitz, inspectors will also check on the workplaces’ internal responsibility system, which involves internal roles and policies aimed at making employers, supervisors and workers responsible for their own health and safety at workplaces. They will also check for hazards involving musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and exposure to chemicals.
Ministry inspectors will visit a range of workplaces in the industrial sector, but will focus on workplaces:
• known to have machinery;
• known to have hazardous processes and equipment;
• where complaints have been received; and
• where there is a poor compliance history.
Inspectors will take enforcement action, as appropriate, in response to any violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.