Ontario safety blitz targets young workers

The Ontario Ministry of Labour is launching a four-month inspection safety blitz, beginning May 1st, targeting workplaces where new and young workers are employed, full-time or in summer jobs.
Health and safety inspectors from the Ministry of Labour will check that employers are complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, ensuring that young workers: are protected by required safety measures, equipment and procedures to prevent injuries; have proper instructions, training and supervision on the job; and, they meet minimum age requirements.

"The inspectors will shut down unsafe work sites when necessary and employers could face fines through the Occupational Health and Safety Act," a Ministry of Labour statement said.

According to statistics, young workers are five times more likely to be injured in their first four weeks at work than the more senior, experienced workers. Between 2006 and 2010, 34 young workers aged 15 to 24 died in work-related incidents. The highest number of lost-time-at-work claims for on-the-job injuries involved young workers employed in occupations such as sales and service, transport/equipment operators and labourers in processing, manufacturing and utilities.

Since the launch of Safe At Work Ontario in June 2008, the province's team of more than 400 health and safety inspectors conducted more than 160,000 proactive and 66,000 reactive field visits, issued more than 360,000 compliance orders and conducted 25 proactive inspection blitzes, the ministry said.