In an effort to prevent Ontario’s top workplace injury, inspectors from the Ministry of Labour will blitz workplaces in the construction, health care, industrial and mining sectors.
“My top priority is workplace safety,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour. “We all need to be careful about the way we’re working. Lifting, carrying and even sitting the wrong way can lead to injuries.”
The workplace inspection coincides with October’s Global Ergonomics Month and will run from October 1 to December 27, 2019. In an effort to raise awareness, Ministry staffs have been conducting outreach to employers over the past number of weeks.
In 2017, musculoskeletal injuries accounted for about one-third of all lost-time injury claims accepted by Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. They resulted in 19,000 claims, 462,000 days lost from work and $72 million in costs.
Musculoskeletal injuries emerge from repetitive work, heavy lifting and carrying, and awkward postures that affect people’s bones, joints, ligaments and other soft tissues.
That could include such tasks as lifting heavy bags of cement, repositioning patients in a hospital or long-term care home, or handling objects while on a ladder.
Back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tendonitis are three prominent examples of musculoskeletal injuries.
Inspections will also be focused on breathing hazards, which include gases, dusts, vapours and fumes that can lead to lung cancer and other illnesses.
“Everyone has a role and responsibility in preventing musculoskeletal injuries and respiratory hazards,” said Minister McNaughton. “This enforcement initiative will help prevent needless suffering for thousands of workers and ensure they are safe on the job.”
The blitz is part of the government’s Safe At Work Ontario strategy. The goal is to improve worker health and safety by helping employers comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations.