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Safe use of machinery among top 10 most common inspection orders by Ontario MOL

By Workplace Safety North

Based on a 2012 safety inspection blitz by the Ontario Ministry of Labour, machine guarding and lockout was one of the top 10 most frequently issued orders in the workplace.

Improper or non-existent guarding and lockout of machines and equipment can result in disfiguring injuries, amputations and death.

“Unfortunately, these types of horrific incidents continue to occur,” said Jerry Traer, program-training specialist at Workplace Safety North, “which is why you need to regularly refresh your knowledge and awareness about the safe use of machinery.”

In the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Statistical Supplement to the 2010 Annual Report, the following information was reported for 2009:

• 2,171 lost time injury claims (LTIs) for caught in or compressed by equipment

• 427 LTIs for rubbed or abraded by friction, pressure or jarred by vibration

• 361 amputations

WSIB 2010 data shows that LTIs for guarding and lockout rank in the top four causes of injuries, however, the injuries tend to be more severe than any other cause of injury.

The most common activities in which injuries and deaths occurred involved cleaning a drum or other part of a conveyor, conveyor maintenance, regular activities such as sorting or packing near a conveyor and recovering a jammed item from an unguarded pinch point hazard. Health and safety inspectors take a “zero tolerance” approach to any contraventions found under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Consider the following tips on how to prepare for a Ministry of Labour inspection blitz on safe use of machinery.

Before the inspector’s visit:

•Check your incident experience in relation to the inspection blitz topic.

•Review the sections of the act and regulations that may apply.

•Determine whether you currently meet or exceed minimum legal requirements.

•Consult with your Ontario health and safety association for specific information and services that may help you prepare — often online webinars are available.

•Review inspection blitz-related material prepared by the ministry.

•Discuss compliance strategies with your joint health and safety committee, and health and safety representative.

During the visit:

•Ensure all required documentation is available to inspector.

•Ensure supervisor and health and safety representative are available.

•Ensure workplace parties co-operate with inspector.

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WSN is an independent not-for-profit health and safety organization. Its members are companies in Ontario's mining, forestry, paper, printing and converting sectors. It also provides health and safety services to businesses in all sectors across northern Ontario.

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