Is Your Facility Government Compliant? If Not You Could Be Responsible For A Fine Of Up To $500,000
- March 23, 2016
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Understanding Ontario Government Facility Health & Safety Requirements.
It’s no secret that both the Ontario provincial government and the Canadian federal government take workplace safety as an incredibly serious matter.
For instance, in 2009 the Ontario government fined a grocery store operator $55,000 for an incident related to a broken loading dock plate. In a similar 2009 case, a Pulp and Paper company based out of Toronto was fined $60,000 for an injury to a worker resulting from a truck that had failed to be chocked to prevent it from rolling.
In both cases, these risks, injuries and subsequent fines could have been avoided simply by bringing in a trained professional who is proficient in mitigating risk in these major hazard areas – specifically their loading dock & overhead door areas.
The following sections will help you understand some of the major government organizations involved in regulating and policing health and safety in Ontario, as well as shed light on some of the responsibilities employers have in making sure their facilities are safe for employees.
What Are You Responsible For?
In Ontario, we look to several government groups and acts for direction and affirmation of facility safety standards. The specific groups we use as directives in our industry are the OHSA (Occupational Health and Safety Act) and Safe at Work Ontario.
Occupational Health & Safety Act
For more than 40 years the OHSA has provided the legal framework and tools to make Ontario’s workplaces safe and healthy. Where the Act primarily refers to facility safety is in Part 3: Duties of Employers and Other Persons.
Per Part 3, an Ontario employer, who is covered by the OHSA, has a range of legal obligations, including the following two pertaining to facility safety:
“Take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of an employee.”
“Ensure that every part of the physical structure of the workplace complies with load requirements prescribed in the applicable Building Code provisions, any prescribed standards and sound engineering practice.”
Not only are these best practices for the safety and efficiency of the facility, but also acting negligent or incompetent of these requirements may subject an Ontario employer to a fine of up to $500,000.
Safe At Work Ontario
Safe at Work Ontario is the Ministry of Labour’s strategy for enforcing the aforementioned Occupational Health & Safety Act. The compliance strategy is designed to:
– Improve the health and safety culture of workplaces
– Reduce workplace injuries and illness
– Lessen the burden on the healthcare system
– Avoid costs for employers and the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB)
As part of enacting Safe At Work Ontario, the Ministry of Labour made more than 80,000 field visits regarding inspection, investigation or consultation in 2011-2012. More than 50% (42,000) of these field visits were to industrial facilities – again highlighting the focus of the Ontario Government on Health and Safety in industrial workplaces.
Ensuring You Are Government Compliant
For professional advice on whether or not your facility is compliant, call Lenworth today. We hold a number of well-regarded industry accreditations including those from the International Door Association, ContractorCheck, ComplyWorks and PICS and are happy to provide a Free 10-Point Facility Inspection to ensure your facility is safe, efficient & compliant.
Please note that this article should not be taken as legal advice on best safety practices in any industrial or commercial facility. It is highly recommended that all employers read the OHSA, Safe At Work Ontario & PSHSA in full to understand their complete requirements.
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