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Ontario gears up for enhanced OHS enforcement, prevention initiatives

By COS staff

Ontario's newly formed prevention council will embark on a province-wide consultation to pursue its mandate to develop a new strategy for occupational health and safety.

In a statement, the head of the prevention council, chief prevention officer George Gritziotis, said he is looking forward to the first ever public consultation.

The Ministry of Labour and the prevention council will pursue some of the priority recommendations from the Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health and Safety, the minister of labour said.

These recommendations include: mandatory workplace health and safety awareness training for workers and supervisors, and ensuring the voices of vulnerable workers and small business are heard in the development of effective occupational health and safety policies.

In response, the government has established advisory groups that will consult with, and advise on, occupational health and safety matters involving vulnerable workers and small business, the ministry said.

The government is also delivering on other recommendations in the report by:

• launching a public consultation on proposed new regulations that would require employers to ensure all workers and supervisors complete mandatory basic occupational health and safety awareness training;


• working with the prevention council to launch a discussion paper in early 2013 on the development of an occupational health and safety strategy for the province;


• launching new resource materials that will help prevent worker injuries and illness by raising awareness of rights, responsibilities and hazards in the workplace.

These are some of the many new prevention and enforcement initiatives being undertaken by the Ministry of Labour to make workplaces safer. The ministry also conducts a number of heightened enforcement activities through its Safe At Work Ontario strategy.

“The health and safety of workers is a priority for our government. We want to ensure all workers return home safe and sound at the end of each workday," said Linda Jeffrey, minister of labour. "Prevention and enforcement are key elements in fulfilling this commitment."?

In 2011, 55 workers died and 757 workers were seriously injured in workplace incidents in Ontario. Since 2008, ministry inspectors have conducted more than 345,000 field visits, 47 inspection blitzes and issued more than 560,000 compliance orders in Ontario workplaces.

In April 2012, the prevention mandate for occupational health and safety was transferred to the Ontario Ministry of Labour from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

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