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Posted in: Ontario | Health and Safety

Apr 20, 2016

Workplace Blitzes - Is an Inspector Coming to Your Workplace?

By Cynthia R. C. Sefton

Our recent webinars have focused on the workplace health and safety obligations of businesses and their people, and offered practical tips for staying in compliance. In addition to occupational health and safety laws, we have tackled other employment issues.

The Ontario Ministry of Labour has just announced that it will be performing blitzes at numerous workplaces across Ontario between May 2, 2016 and March 31, 2017, to investigate possible violations of both employment standards and occupational health and safety requirements. Targeted industries include food services, retail stores, construction sites and mines, and sectors with vulnerable workers (such as young and temporary foreign workers). Inspections will also focus on businesses with a history of violations or repeated offences. Employment standards inspectors will be on the lookout for anything that could affect pay, overtime and work hours for vulnerable workers.

On the health and safety side, the inspectors will be looking for non-compliant conduct that includes fall hazards and electrical hazards, as well as the handling of chemicals. The importance of compliance is self-evident. However, it is also important that you have a process in place for what to do when the inspector arrives on his or her blitz inspection.

Businesses should have a pre-designated individual or individuals responsible for meeting with the inspector. Such people should be knowledgeable about health and safety or employment standards requirements and have the ability to quickly retrieve relevant policies, procedures, training, records, etc., if requested by the inspector.

Ministry of Labour blitzes have resulted in inspectors issuing over one million compliance orders for safety issues across all sectors in Ontario since June 2008. Be prepared and make sure you have the appropriate safeguards in place! If not, you may risk not only receiving a compliance order, but you might be charged as well.

Visit the Ontario Ministry of Labour's website on Health and Safety Inspection Blitzes and Initiatives for more information.

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