Lead the Way on PPE Safety
You wear your hard hat, safety boots and glasses. You know your workplace’s health and safety requirements. You understand that personal protective equipment (PPE) is often the last line of defence when it comes to saving your limbs – and your life.
Yet some workers fail to use PPE. In 2018, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development found that lack of PPE was the second-highest violation on construction projects in Ontario.
“For those who wear your safety gear, ask ‘what value can I offer my colleagues with less experience?’” says Pierre Rouleau, Provincial Construction Health & Safety Coordinator. “Take the lead in helping to protect your colleagues at work. Mentor those who may not understand the life-saving importance of such equipment.”
Starting in early 2020, the ministry will focus on the lack and misuse of PPE at construction workplaces as part of a province-wide health and safety blitz. From January 6 to March 13, 2020, the ministry will raise awareness of requirements for PPE, such as foot, eye, hearing and respiratory devices.
The initiative will be conducted in two phases. The first will focus on education, as the ministry works with the Infrastructure Health & Safety Association to provide resources to workplaces. During the second phase, inspectors will conduct field visits to check whether employers are complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
For more information on the upcoming blitz, visit the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skill Development’s website.
Find resources on using PPE to protect workers by visiting the Infrastructure Health & Safety Association’s PPE webpage
Ministry of Labour launches new accreditation program to reward safe companies
By: Amanda Silliker for Canadian Occupational Safety
Toronto, Ontario, November 26, 2019 - On Friday, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour introduced a new, voluntary program that recognises employers with successful health and safety programs in place. Employers who qualify for the new Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers program will receive rebates from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) over a three-year period.
“We are unveiling this program because it will promote a safety culture in Ontario’s workplaces, it will encourage organizations to go even further in their safety measures and most importantly, it will help reduce workplace injuries,” said Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton.
Employers from all sectors and of all sizes are invited to participate in the program, which is led by the office of the chief prevention officer (CPO).
“We’re adopting innovative approaches to become a modern regulator,” said CPO Ron Kelusky. “Industry has long asked for rewards for employers who successfully promote health and safety in their workplace.”
To qualify, employers must implement an occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) that is accredited by the CPO and they must also meet other criteria, including a third-party audit, worker participation and compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Employers can choose to implement their own OHSMS based on an existing standard that has been accredited by the CPO or develop their own OHSMS and apply to have it accredited.
At this time, the CPO has accredited the following national and international standards:
•ISO 45001:2018 – Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use
•CSA Z45001-19 – Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use
•BS OHSAS 18001:2007 – Occupational health and safety management system – Requirements
•COR 2020 updated Standard to be available to implement in January 2020.
Successfully qualifying employers will be posted on the Ministry of Labour website and be able to brand themselves as “CPO-recognized.” Applications will be available to employers in the new year.
The program is the first of its kind in Canada with similar programs existing in Europe and Japan, the MOL said.
To further build on this program, the WSIB has launched its Health and Safety Excellence program, which aims to help workplaces improve occupational health and safety — no matter where they fall on the OHS spectrum.
The program consists of 36 topics that employers can move through at their own pace, earning rebates — a minimum of $1,000 per topic — and other recognition as they go. This program will help employers develop an OHSMS.
“Keeping people healthy and safe is not only the right thing to do, it’s also good for business,” said Elizabeth Witmer, chair of the WSIB. “We know that health and safety improvements can increase efficiency, encourage innovation and lead to longer-term profitability.”
According to the Ministry of Labour, implementing a successful health and safety management system can lower injuries, decrease workers’ compensation premiums, increase hazard reporting, improve overall safety culture and improve health and safety practices.
“It literally brought tears to my eyes when I heard that between 2014 and 2018 in Ontario, 24 young workers were killed on the job,” said McNaughton. “As a father, that makes me truly sad. One death at a workplace is one too many.”