Ontario hires new health and safety inspectors

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

The Ontario government has hired over 100 new occupational health and safety inspectors to support business inspection campaigns.

The new inspectors have begun a condensed training program, and will begin making field visits, with a mentor, within five weeks of their start date. They are scheduled to be fully trained and deployed by July 1, 2021.

Ontario’s provincial offences officers have conducted more than 13,374 Covid-related workplace inspections and investigations across the province since the beginning of 2021, issuing 9,480 orders and 373 tickets, and stopped unsafe work 15 times.

Focus on small business

Workplace inspections continue to focus on educating small businesses across the province to help them reopen safely after a lockdown. Over the past week, 110 provincial offences officers in Eastern Ontario, Durham Region, and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph visited 1,081 workplaces, the majority of which were small businesses with fewer than 25 employees.

The two-stage inspections provide Covid-19 education and guidance, particularly those that were closed during the provincial shutdown. Follow-up visits are more enforcement oriented.

Over the coming weeks, officers will return to businesses that have already been visited in Eastern Ontario, Durham Region and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, shifting toward enforcing Covid-19 safety requirements, and issuing orders and tickets, if necessary.

Additional two-stage campaigns, focusing on small businesses, are scheduled to take place in York Region on March 5 and 6, Windsor Essex on March 6 and Waterloo Region from March 11 to 16.

Warehouse blitz

These initiatives,┬áin consultation with local public health units, include targeted blitzes of big-box stores, the farming sector, and the province’s “Stay Safe All Day” campaign, focusing on areas of high transmission such as breakrooms.

In the most recent two-week campaign in Peel Region, inspectors visited 208 warehouses and distribution centres and issued 26 tickets. The most common areas of non-compliance were related to safety plans, screening and masking.

“Our business community and especially our small business owners are very appreciative of these collaborative workplace safety campaigns with the Durham Region Health Department,” said Dr. Robert Kyle, Durham Region medical officer of health.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have been actively working with our business community to educate owners and operators about their responsibilities to ensure that all public health measures are in place and rigorously followed to protect public safety.”