From November 3 through December 14, 2014 the Ontario Ministry of Labour will send inspectors into industrial sector workplaces throughout the province, including manufacturing, chemical, and automotive plants, as part of a safety blitz designed to alleviate hazards that could lead to serious injuries at those workplaces.
As part of the blitz, inspectors will focus on making sure machines are properly guarded, locked out or blocked, as appropriate. By making sure machine guards are in place, workers are prevented from having access to the machine’s moving parts. Lockout prevents machines from starting up unexpectedly at the worst possible time, while blocking prevents a machine from moving or falling during maintenance or repair.
In addition to machine hazards, inspectors will also be checking to make sure that all workplaces have a strong internal responsibility system in place, and that such a system promotes compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations. They will also check to make sure that workers are protected from exposure to chemicals that could cause disease and that those workers who have to work in situations that require repetitive motions and awkward postures are properly protected from musculoskeletal and other disorders.
In 2013, 17 per cent of the compliance orders issued by Ministry of Labour inspectors were issued for violations having to do with machine guarding and lockouts in industrial workplaces. In 2012, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board received lost-time injury (LTI) claims from 1,976 workers who were caught in or compressed by equipment; 305 workers with serious abrasions caused by vibrations or friction, and 367 workers who had body parts amputated.