The Ontario Ministry of Labour has announced that it will be increasing the number of health and safety inspections this coming year. The Ministry plans on conducting over two dozen inspection blitzes for the 2018-2019 year. The time frame coincides with the fiscal year – April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019.
The goal is to ensure that employers are meeting the minimum requirements for health, safety and employment standards.
The inspection blitzes are designed to raise awareness of hazards and increase compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Each year, Ontario schedules inspection blitzes in specific sectors. They announce the focus of the blitzes ahead of time, but don’t give advance notice to individual workplaces.
Enforcement staff break down their inspections into blitz categories. This year’s construction blitzes will focus on fall protection training and reversing equipment on construction sites.
Meanwhile, the industrial blitz will focus on machine guarding, new and young workers, warehouses, and “big box” retail.
The plan for the mining blitz is to focus on conveyor guarding and mobile equipment.
Typically, the Ministry targets high-risk sectors and repeat offenders. Inspectors seek out violations that could affect the health and safety of the workplace employees.
They also check for employment standards violations. This includes the careful review of how employers are handling things like minimum wage, hours of work, overtime pay, public holidays, and paid vacations.
According to Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour, “Every worker has the right to return home safe and sound at the end of each work day and to receive their employment standards entitlements. We want to raise awareness of hazards and other violations at workplaces across the province to ensure employers are complying with Ontario laws and that workers are protected.”
The results of the inspection blitzes are usually reported within 90 days. Results from previous inspections can be found on the Ontario website.
Since June of 2008, the Ministry of Labour has conducted more than 792,400 field visits. They’ve also completed 100 provincial inspection blitzes. Nearly 1,300,000 compliance orders for safety violations were issued during that time frame.
And, in the last twelve years, more than $177 million in wages and other money owed to employees has been recovered. The inspections, claims, collections, and other program activities are responsible for this significant recover amount.
According to the announcement, “Ontario's plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of Medicare in a generation.”