Safety Blitz Helps Protect New And Young Workers
As part of Ontario's Safe At Work Ontario strategy, the province is launching a four-month safety blitz that will target industrial and health care workplaces with new and young workers to prevent injuries and deaths. This is the fifth annual new and young workers blitz.
New and young workers in Ontario are four times more likely to be injured during the first month of employment than at any other time.
According to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board's annual report, between 2006 and 2010, 34 young workers aged 15 to 24 died in work-related falls, motor vehicle and machinery incidents. The most common work-related injuries included sprains and strains, cuts/lacerations/punctures and bruises/contusions.
Many of the injured young workers were employed as salespeople, transport/equipment operators and labourers in processing, manufacturing and utilities.
The blitz will focus on:
- New and young workers aged 14 to 24 years
- New workers that are 25 years and older and who are on the job for less than six months or reassigned to a new job
New workers include:
- Any new hire, either permanent or temporary, including supervisors, with or without; experience in the industry where they are working
- Current workers who are assigned new jobs
- Student workers, co-op placements or apprentices
- Seasonal workers
Ministry inspectors will place special emphasis on the safety of new and young workers in workplaces such as retail stores, wholesalers, restaurants, tourism and recreational facilities, vehicle sales and service centres, hospitals, nursing homes, retirement homes, agencies that provide services for the developmentally challenged, low-rise construction projects, municipalities and workplaces involving farming operations, logging and transportation.
Inspectors will also check workplaces such as golf courses, camps, temporary agencies amusement parks, and workplaces where workers are engaged in activities such as landscaping.
Ministry inspectors will identify workplaces:
- With a high incidence of lost-time injuries among new and young workers
- Identified as a high-priority workplace by the ministry
- Known to have highly hazardous processes and equipment
- Where complaints have been received and there is a history of non-compliance
- Where new and young workers are often employed on a regular or seasonal basis
- Not previously visited by the ministry and/or
- Non regulated workplaces
Blitz inspections will focus on four key priorities:
Orientation, training and supervision: Inspectors will check to ensure new and young workers are being given the required information, instruction and training when starting a job and are receiving supervision, as required. For example, new and young workers should be informed of the requirements involving the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). They should also be aware of their rights and obligations, including their right to refuse work that could endanger themselves or others.
Minimum age requirements: Inspectors will check whether workers meet minimum age requirements. Workers must be at least:
- 14 years old to work in industrial establishments such as offices, stores, arenas and restaurant serving areas
- 15 years old to work in most factories, including restaurant kitchens, automotive service garages, produce and meat preparation areas, laundries, warehouses, and shipping and receiving areas in grocery stores and
- 16 years old to work in logging operations or construction projects
Internal Responsibility System: Inspectors will check that requirements for the workplace's internal responsibility system, such as Joint Health and Safety Committees or health and safety representatives, where required, are being complied with at the workplace.
Safety measures and procedures: Inspectors will check that all required safety measures are in place to prevent injuries, including:
- Safe practices for handling any potentially dangerous materials
- Proper mechanical device usage and work spaces to prevent ergonomic and musculoskeletal injuries
- Safety measures for specific equipment such as using guarding devices on machinery
- Correct use of lifting devices, ladders and personal protective equipment to prevent falls.
information for new AND YOUNG workers
- Young worker portal on the Ministry of Labour's website: www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/atwork/youngworkers.php
- Ministry of Labour's WorkSmartOntario website for information on workplace health and safety and workers' employment rights and obligations: www.worksmartontario.gov.on.ca
- Workplace Safety and Insurance Board's website for young workers with tips on starting a new job and dealing with unsafe workplaces: www.ywap.ca
- Ministry of Labour's WorkSmartCampus health and safety information geared to post-secondary students: www.worksmartcampus.ca
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