Accident Prevention e-News
January 2010
Volume 5/Issue 1/Jan 2010

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MOL February blitz: lifting devices

MOL February blitz: lifting devicesNext month, Ministry of Labour inspectors will be scouring the province for lift truck related infractions. The blitz was prompted in part by results of a similar blitz in February 2009: inspectors visited 1,295 workplaces and issued 4,172 orders — 50% more orders per visit than usual for the ministry’s Industrial Program in that fiscal year.

As with the 2009 blitz, inspectors will focus on

  • lifting device inspection and maintenance — the subject of one third of orders issued in the 2009 blitz (see “2009 lift truck related orders” for more inspection blitz results)
  • safe work environment. This includes pedestrian traffic and workplace environment issues (e.g., equipment guarding, eyewash fountains, material handling, keeping floors free of hazards/obstructions, securing machinery from tipping or falling, guardrails, securing compressed gas cylinders, and securing vehicles from unintended movement)
  • operator competency, i.e., whether workers have received adequate training

2009 lift truck related orders

34% (1059) — lifting device inspection and maintenance
24% (750) — safe work environment
4% (133) — operation of the lifting device by a competent person
8% (260) — Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) sections 8 (health & safety representative) and 9 (joint health & safety committee)
5% (159) — employer responsibilities, OHSA section 25: duty of employers to prepare and review a written OHS policy, develop and maintain a program to implement that policy, and post in the workplace a copy of the policy and the OHSA.
4% (117) — requirements relating to the Workplace Materials Hazardous Information System (WHMIS) regulation

Of particular interest to inspectors will be workplaces in the following subsectors, especially if they have already come to the ministry’s attention:

  • wood and metal fabrication — in 2009, this subsector received the most orders issued (796), field visits (304), and stop work orders (45)
  • wholesale — orders (436), field visits (194), stop work orders (32)
  • retail — orders (371), field visits (162), stop work orders (25)
  • mushroom farms and greenhouse operations, new this year and triggered by a recent fatality involving a forklift

Other subsectors with a higher likelihood of incidents involving lifting devices — and likely to receive special attention — include: transportation • automotive • food, beverage and tobacco • offices and related services (agencies supplying non–clerical labour) • chemical, rubber and plastics.

Throughout the coming year, inspectors will be following up with all workplaces that received an order during this blitz, to determine whether they have maintained compliance.

One insider’s advice

In a 2009 interview with Accident Prevention e-News, Wayne De L’Orme, provincial coordinator of the Ministry of Labour’s Industrial Health and Safety Program, said “Owners and managers need to ensure that workers are trained in the tasks they are being asked to do, that lift trucks are in good working condition, and that the hazards associated with lift truck traffic have been reduced.

“A major cause of lift truck incidents relates to working in a haphazard way,” continued De L’Orme. “The lift truck is used to take a short cut to complete a task when operators haven’t considered the hazards fork lifts present, and/or people are not trained to do the work.”

What the records show

Ministry data indicate 13 deaths resulted from incidents involving lift trucks, reach trucks, forklifts and tow motors in industrial sector workplaces from January 2003 to December 2007.

Occupational Health and Safety Council of Ontario (OHSCO) data for 1996 to 2008 show 10,308 incidents related to forklifts that resulted in lost–time injury (LTI) claims to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

WSIB statistics for forklifts in all sectors (industrial and others) for 2003–2007 indicate that the WSIB allowed 4,536 claims involving 303,825 lost workdays. The average forklift–related LTI claim resulted in 67 days lost from work.

Upcoming blitzes

Two more blitzes have been announced for 2010:

  • young workers, June and the first 2 weeks of July. The extended blitz will enable inspectors to visit more workplaces that hire high school students, many of whom don’t start work until late June or early July
  • musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), September. MSDs account for 40% of all lost-time claims in Ontario workplaces

A blitz on hazards involving suspended platforms at construction sites began in mid-January, and will last 90 days.

More blitzes may be announced as the year progresses, Wayne De L’Orme told Accident Prevention e-News last week. Could the province’s new violence and harassment prevention requirements be the subject of a blitz in 2010 or 2011? “If I were a betting person, I would say yes.”

Watch for coverage of upcoming blitzes in future issues of Accident Prevention e-News.

How IAPA can help

IAPA offers these lift truck resources:


Amalgamation at work: a system-wide conference

Amalgamation at work: a system-wide conferenceAn upcoming event will bring all of Ontario’s prevention system partners — currently amalgamating from 12 to 4 — under one roof for an unparalleled learning and networking opportunity.

Partners in Prevention 2010: Ontario Health & Safety Conference & Trade Show (May 4-5, in Mississauga, ON) captures Ontario’s evolving prevention system at its best. All of Ontario’s prevention system organizations will be working together to present more than 60 conference sessions appealing to delegates from all business sectors. The Ministry of Labour and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board will be active participants as well. System members’ expertise will also be evident on the trade show floor. The show is expected to draw 400 + exhibitors and thousands of delegates. (For more on the event, see “Learn and network at Partners in Prevention.”)

Member firm benefits

The amalgamation of organizations is part of a critical assessment and restructuring of prevention system programs and services undertaken to reduce the number of workplace injuries and fatalities. The changes will better help Ontario businesses with their prevention efforts.

For member firms, this will mean

  • innovative and cost-effective solutions
  • more resources and training opportunities
  • sector-specific products and services
  • one website, one phone number
  • easier access to information, advice and training

3 examples

Although IAPA, the Ontario Service Safety Alliance (OSSA) and Farm Safety Association (FSA) officially merged on January 1, the process began much earlier. The following three stories provide examples of member firm benefits that have already resulted from collaboration among IAPA, OSSA and FSA employees.*

  1. A warehouse, no matter in what industry, is still a warehouse. Warehouses come in many stripes and sizes: some serving the service sector, others manufacturing. Regardless, one thing warehouses share is a similar list of processes, equipment and hazards. To acknowledge this reality, OSSA joined with IAPA and the Canadian Standards Association to design an agenda and line up speakers for a shared warehouse safety conference in Toronto in November 2009. It went so well that more outreach activities are planned for 2010 that will include FSA.

  2. A collision of services. Auto body repair shops require employees to work daily with substances and chemicals that could be extraordinarily dangerous if not controlled properly. As part of a six-month blitz that started in October 2009, Ministry of Labour inspectors have been making a broad sweep of auto collision and repair shops in central Ontario. The orders they write most often relate to isocyanates — a chemical found in products used in auto body repair shops, so highly toxic that they are subject, under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, to special regulations and controls. To support the collision repair industry, OSSA has for the first time drawn IAPA into its service offerings by making IAPA's hygiene monitoring and indoor air monitoring services available to OSSA's clients.

  3. What's in a grocery bag. The new reusable grocery bags are a classic case of unintended consequences. Designed to replace plastic bags and take pressure off the environment, reusable bags come in all shapes and sizes. The problem is cash stations were not designed for their use, which sets cashiers and customers up for sprains and strains due to awkward postures and the weight of loaded bags. Ontario prevention system to the rescue: OSSA and IAPA, in one of their first opportunities to collaborate in a significant way since the planned amalgamation was announced, joined with Ontario's five biggest grocery chains and three influential grocery and retail trade associations to develop prevention best practices and guidelines associated with changes in the bagging process. OSSA represents the service sector and facilitates the project group, while IAPA contributes ergonomics expertise.

* These stories first appeared in the December 2009 issue of The Advocate, one of several publications produced by the Ontario Service Safety Alliance.

Amalgamation elsewhere in the system

The new organization formed by IAPA, OSSA and FSA is just one of 4 new organizations that have resulted from amalgamation among Ontario’s 12 prevention system partners. The other three organizations are:

  • Infrastructure Health and Safety Association, formerly the Construction Safety Association of Ontario (CSAO), Electrical & Utilities Safety Association of Ontario (E&USA), and Transportation Health and Safety Association of Ontario (THSAO). President and CEO: Michael Delisle
  • Workplace Safety North (WSN), formerly the Ontario Forestry Safe Workplace Association (OFSWA), Mines and Aggregates Safety and Health Association (MASHA), and Pulp and Paper Health and Safety Association (PPHSA). President and CEO: Candys Ballanger-Michaud
  • Health and Safety Association for Government Services, formerly the Education Safety Association of Ontario (ESAO), Municipal Health and Safety Association (MHSA), and Ontario Safety Association for Community and Healthcare (OSACH). President and CEO: Louise Logan

Find out more about the amalgamation

Bill 168: countdown to compliance

Bill 168: countdown to complianceOntario workplaces have just over four months to comply with new violence and harassment requirements under Bill 168, which take effect June 15, 2010.

Among the requirements, employers must

  • assess the risk of violence
  • prepare workplace policies for both violence and harassment
  • develop an implementation program, including control measures/procedures, such as
    • employee reporting
    • incident and complaint investigation
    • emergency response for violence incidents
  • create a process for responding to complaints and threats

As previously reported in Accident Prevention e-News, the legislation would also

  • expand workers’ right to refuse unsafe work to include situations of violence
  • require employers who are aware or ought to be aware that domestic violence may erupt at work to take every reasonable precaution to protect the worker

Compliance support

IAPA has created several resources to help firms comply with their new obligations (see “How IAPA can help”). Also under development:

  1. a Ministry of Labour guideline on what’s expected of workplaces. In an interview with Ministry of Labour policy analysts Yvette Shirtliff and Brian Hanulik, Shirtliff told Accident Prevention e-News that the guideline will help all workplace parties understand the new requirements. “Meetings between the ministry and stakeholders took place from the introduction of the bill through to Royal Assent,” explained Hanulik, “and the issues that came up have helped inform some content of the guideline, in terms of interpretation issues, or issues that stakeholders wanted clarified.”

    There is some flexibility built into the requirements, noted Hanulik. However, this doesn’t mean inspectors will turn a blind eye to workplaces that are slow to comply. “All inspectors will have completed specialized training by the June 15 compliance deadline,” warned Shirtliff. Furthermore, said Hanulik, “They will be able to apply all their existing powers to enforce the new requirements.”

    According to Wayne De L’Orme, provincial coordinator of the ministry’s Industrial Health and Safety Program, at some point in the future enforcement efforts may even involve an inspection blitz.

  2. Occupational Health and Safety Council of Ontario (OHSCO) resources on how to carry out risk assessments. OHSCO represents the members of Ontario’s prevention system. Among the tools, says Andrew Harkness, IAPA’s senior strategy advisor, Healthy Workplaces, and a member of the OHSCO team developing the resources, will be a general risk assessment tool for workplace violence, as well as risk-specific assessment tools. The tools will be posted on prevention system websites for free downloading.

    While the tools will help firms comply with Bill 168 requirements, Wayne De L’Orme encourages workplaces to take a broader view. “It’s important for workplaces to realize that they can prevent violence and harassment,” De L’Orme says. To this end, it’s possible that compliance with the violence and harassment provisions may be the subject of a future inspection blitz.

    As part of ministry discussions with stakeholders, De L’Orme has been meeting with groups of employees across the province. He was surprised to learn that many workers don’t report incidents of violence or harassment. One explanation: some victims’ belief that it was somehow their fault. ”I’m hoping that the preventive measures employers will be taking will help shatter this myth,” says De L’Orme.

    IAPA’s Andrew Harkness shares De L’Orme’s concerns and hopes. “A toxic workplace culture breeds behaviour associated with violence and harassment,” says Harkness. “Conversely, focusing on an organizational culture of respect, fairness and engagement — the core of IAPA’s healthy workplace philosophy — would minimize the risk of harassment or violence occurring.”

Member firm preparations

Accident Prevention e-News spoke with two member firms about their preparations for Bill 168.

“I don’t think meeting our obligations will be a huge stretch,” says Mike Miller, health, safety and environmental coordinator for Spinrite L.P. The Listowel, ON yarn manufacturer, which employs between 450 and 500 workers, had already taken steps before Labour Minister Peter Fonseca introduced Bill 168 last year. The firm introduced a revised harassment and discrimination policy in January 2008, and a separate violence policy in May 2008. By February 2009, the firm had already conducted a risk assessment, prompted in part by selecting violence and harassment as one of the elective elements available to it as a member of IAPA’s 2009 Safety Group.

Jennifer Meyer, human resources group leader for Hayashi Canada Inc., says the Stratford, ON auto parts manufacturer is also ahead of the game. “We implemented a workplace violence and harassment policy last year, before Bill 168 was introduced. We’re now revising our policies and procedures to reflect what Bill 168 requires, and we’re preparing to conduct hazard assessments” (section 32.0.3). Hayashi Canada Inc., like Spinrite L.P., has made safety part of its corporate culture. Just recently, Hayashi earned a Level II Health and Safety Achievement Award.

Nevertheless, both Meyer and Miller anticipate possible challenges in complying with two other aspects of the bill:

  1. duty to disclose personal information about a worker with a history of violent behaviour. Section 32.0.5 (3) imposes a duty to “provide information, including personal information, related to a risk of workplace violence from a person with a history of violent behaviour if, (a) the worker can be expected to encounter that person in the course of his or her work; and (b) the risk of workplace violence is likely to expose the worker to physical injury.”

    “When I read the bill,” says Meyer, “the first thing that jumped out at me was, ‘How would we go about communicating that?’ I don’t think we would face that situation with our current employees, but certainly if a situation did arise in the future, that would be my biggest concern.”

    As for Miller, “I’m trying to get my head around how we can do that and still meet the requirements of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.”

    Part of Miller’s concern is that, “unless an incident occurred in the workplace, or the person committed a public or criminal act of violence, an employer probably wouldn’t know about it.” This may absolve an employer of any legal obligations, but the possibility that workers may be at risk without the employer knowing doesn’t sit well with Miller.

  2. addition of violence to the grounds under which workers can refuse work that is likely to endanger himself or herself (subsection 43(3)(b.1)). The issue: how to assess and respond to a refusal. “It could be so subjective,” says Meyer. However, based on their current work environment, neither Meyer nor Miller anticipates any violence-based refusals. Both firms have a zero tolerance approach to violence and harassment, which has been communicated to all employees and integrated into orientation training.

    “If a refusal does occur,” says Miller, “I’ll approach it the same way I always have. It will just involve changing our investigation technique a little…”

    Despite these concerns, Meyer and Miller acknowledge the benefits that will come from the new requirements. For Meyer, “it further formalizes the process by which the employer would investigate and deal with incidents that could arise.” For Miller, “harassment and violence policies have traditionally been monitored from an HR perspective, but now bringing it into the health and safety spectrum will make it part of the overall safety culture: ‘We have zero tolerance, and this is what we’re doing to protect you…’”

    “As an employer,” concludes Meyer, “it’s our obligation and duty to ensure that all of our workers are protected at all times. I’d like to think that we already do that, but Bill 168 requires employers to take that extra step.”

How IAPA can help

  1. Read up on Bill 168
  2. Attend Implications of Bill 168 - Ontario’s New Workplace Violence & Harassment Legislation, (2-hour management briefings presented by local lawyers well versed in OHS) legislation)
  3. Attend Preventing Violence & Harassment at Work - How to Integrate Bill 168 Requirements into your OHS Program (half-day interactive workshop). Also offered at Opportunity 2010 Health and Safety Day of Workshops, March 9, Kitchener, ON
  4. For general information on violence prevention, register for these two e-courses, available in English and French:
  5. Attend Bill 168 sessions at

Watch for additional coverage of Bill 168 in upcoming issues.

Learn and network at Partners in Prevention

Learn and network at Partners in PreventionDelegates attending an upcoming health and safety conference and trade show will be able to tap into the collective expertise and resources of Ontario’s entire prevention system.

All of Ontario’s health and safety organizations are collaborating on the conference program, and will be represented at the trade show. The Ministry of Labour and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board will also be participating.

The event, Partners in Prevention 2010: Ontario Health & Safety Conference & Trade Show, will take place May 4-5 at the International Centre in Mississauga, ON. More than 60 conference sessions and 400 + exhibitors will bring delegates the latest health and safety information, resources and tools to help eliminate workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities. To facilitate the learning, all speakers have been asked to deliver interactive sessions that delegates can take back and implement within their organizations or use to evaluate their own programs and practices.

4 events co-locating

Co-locating at the International Centre with Partners in Prevention will be

  • Your Workplace Conference 2010
  • CANECT 2010 (Canadian Environmental Conference and Tradeshow)
  • MASC 2010 (Machine Automation Safety Congress)

“Co-locating offers exhibitors a more diverse audience for their products and services,” says Nathan Bright, the trade show team lead. “We expect to see new exhibitors, which in turn will offer greater value for delegates.”

How IAPA can help

  1. Learn more about Partners in Prevention Ontario: Health & Safety Conference and Trade Show
  2. Check out other IAPA conferences and trade shows taking place across the province this year

In the News

Handheld devices: ticketing starts Feb. 1

Effective February 1, Ontario drivers found using hand-held cell phones and other wireless devices while driving could face charges. The date marks the end of a 3-month grace period in which drivers caught using the devices received a warning. On February 1, that warning could become a $500 fine.

Under Ontario’s new Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act, 2009, it is illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, dial or email using hand-held cell phones and other hand-held communications and entertainment devices.

Research shows that a driver using a cell phone is four times more likely to be in a crash than a driver focused on the road. Dialing and texting have been found to carry the highest degree of risk of all cell phone-related activities.

Ontario joins more than 50 countries worldwide and a growing number of North American jurisdictions that have similar distracted driving legislation, including Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, California and New York.

36 new exposure limits

Ontario has updated occupational exposure limits (OELs) for 36 hazardous substances, including polyvinyl chloride and ethanol. The new limits, which take effect July 1, 2010, result from consultations undertaken in 2008 and 2009.

OELs limit the amount and length of time a worker may be exposed to hazardous chemical substances. Among the changes:

  • adding exposure limits for two new substances — butenes and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • revising limits or information listings for 23 substances
  • withdrawing specific exposure limits for 11 substances that will be regulated either under a different substance or calculation method, due to a lack of information supporting an OEL.

Existing limits for two other substances included in a 2009 OEL consultation — beryllium and sulphur dioxide — will be maintained pending further consultation and review. Find out more.

Over 725 substances are now regulated under Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act. The limits are based on recommendations of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), a non-profit, internationally-recognized organization of professionals who promote health and safety in the workplace.

Still to come: consolidated regulations

The province intends to consolidate 11 of 12 stand-alone designated substance regulations into one. The exception: Regulation 278/05, Asbestos on Construction Projects and in Buildings and Repair Operations. The intent is to simplify compliance: workplaces will now be able to consult two regulations instead of 12.

Reader survey results

Thanks to the almost 400 readers who responded to our readership survey in December 2010. We’re still assessing the results and exploring ways to implement your suggestions, but for now here are highlights of what you told us:

  • time spent reading Accident Prevention e-News: 66% of respondents spend more than 5 minutes with each issue; 25%, 3 to 5 minutes. This is 4 to 6 times longer than the e-newsletter industry average of 51 seconds*
  • relevance of topics: respondents ranked their satisfaction with relevance at 3.6 out of 5, where 5 is highly satisfied.
  • timeliness of information: 3.9 out of 5
  • ease of use: 4 out of 5
  • clarity of writing: 4.1 out of 5
  • clarity of design: 4 out of 5
  • overall satisfaction: 4 out of 5
  • In response to two fill-in-the-blank statements, “In future issues, I would like to see more…” and “I would like to see less…” respondents were particularly forthcoming. Open-ended questions such as these often go unanswered, but we received many helpful and enlightening suggestions that we are now exploring.

Who reads AP e-News

Readers represent all workplace parties, as well as other stakeholders. Here’s a list by job title:

  • 53% — mid-level manager (HR, H&S, Production…)
  • 17% — non-management
  • 11% — senior manager (VP, GM, plant manager)
  • 6% — front-line supervisor
  • 2% — owner/CEO
  • 12% — other (consultant, safety coordinator, HR generalist…)

Among our readers, 75% are JHSC members.

What’s ahead

We aim to continue strengthening Accident Prevention e-News in all aspects: relevance, timeliness, ease of use, etc. As part of IAPA’s ongoing amalgamation with the Ontario Service Safety Alliance (OSSA) and Farm Safety Association (FSA), we are also exploring ways of broadening our readership, and introducing readers to new resources, issues and opportunities.

We welcome comments and suggestions on an ongoing basis. To send us your thoughts, just click on Feedback, which appears at the bottom of each issue of the newsletter.

* Source: Email Newsletter Usability Executive Summary, Nielsen Norman Group Report,