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Ontario launches Safe at Work plan

By COS staff
| www.cos-mag.com

Ontario has launched a new four-year plan, called Safe at Work Ontario, which builds on the province’s success in reducing workplace injury rate by 20 per cent, according to a recent press release from the Ontario Ministry of Labour.Ontario has launched a new four-year plan, called Safe at Work Ontario, which builds on the province’s success in

reducing workplace injury rate

by 20 per cent, according to a recent press release from the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

The new strategic plan will emphasize both the

safety of Ontario workers

and the increased productivity that safe workplaces bring to Ontario's economy.

The Safe At Work Ontario plan allows the ministry's 430 full-time health and safety inspectors to be flexible and strategic in determining which businesses require their attention based on a number of factors including injury rates and associated costs, a company's compliance history, and the presence of young workers.

The results of an inspection will determine the level of engagement and frequency of subsequent inspections for that workplace.

A fundamental component of this new plan is the development of annual sector-specific plans that provide the flexibility to focus on sector specific hazards and characteristics. The ministry has developed strategies for the industrial, health care, construction, and mining sectors which specify how the new identification criteria will be used.

The goal of the plan is to enforce the province's Occupational Health and Safety Act while educating workers about the importance of workplace safety and lessening the burden on the health care system, the ministry says. To achieve this, inspectors will work with employers to develop a stronger health and safety culture.

The Ontario labour ministry notes that because of the drop in the annual rate of lost-time injuries, employers have avoided about $5 billion in direct and indirect costs in the last four years. Reduced injuries also result in less strain on the health care system, and fewer workers off the job means increased productivity for Ontario's economy.

Details about the Safe At Work Ontario program can be found on the ministry's web site at

www.labour.gov.on.ca

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