Ontario Protecting Young and New Workers



    McGuinty Government Committed to Eliminating Workplace Injuries

    TORONTO, May 19 /CNW/ -

    NEWS

    Ontario is working towards a safer workplace for all by focusing on the
protection of young and new workers throughout the month of June.
    During the blitz, health and safety inspectors will check that young and
new workers are being properly trained, supervised and meet minimum age
requirements (http://webx.newswire.ca/click/?id=eff8faf812e2a73). Inspectors
will focus on a wide range of service and manufacturing work sites and review
activities like tree planting, landscaping and painting. They will examine
personal protective equipment and machinery safeguards, and look for hazards
that could cause falls or musculoskeletal disorders.
    The blitz is part of the Safe At Work Ontario
(http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/sawo/index.html) compliance strategy,
announced in July 2008, to reduce workplace injuries. Keeping workers safe
means increased productivity for Ontario's economy and less strain on the
health care system.

    QUOTES

    "New workers of any age are up to four times more likely to be injured
during the first month on the job than at any other time. Ontario is committed
to eliminating workplace injuries. All workers have the right to come home
from work each day to their families, safe and sound."
    - Peter Fonseca, Minister of Labour

    
    QUICK FACTS

    -   Between 2001 and 2008, young workers aged 15-24 sustained 573
        critical injuries, and there were 27 fatalities.

    -   According to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, young workers
        employed in occupations such as sales and service,
        transport/equipment operators, and labourers in processing,
        manufacturing and utilities had the highest number of allowed lost-
        time claims for on-the-job injuries.

    -   This blitz does not include municipal work sites, farming operations
        or construction sites.

    -   In 2007, the average cost (direct and indirect) to employers of a
        lost-time workplace injury was $106,500.

    -   Between April 1, 2004, and March 31, 2008, declining rates of
        lost-time workplace injuries have saved employers more than
        $5 billion in direct and indirect costs.
    

    LEARN MORE

    The guide to the Occupational Health and Safety Act
(http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/ohsaguide/index.html) explains what
every worker, supervisor, employer, constructor and workplace owner needs to
know about the Act. Almost every workplace in Ontario is covered by the act
and regulations.
    Learn about last year's inspection blitz concerning the safety of young
and new workers 
(http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/sawo/blitz/blitz-report1.html) in the
manufacturing and service sectors.

    
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                                                      ontario.ca/labour-news
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    BACKGROUNDER
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            YOUNG AND NEW WORKER SAFETY FOCUS OF INSPECTION BLITZ
                   OF SERVICE AND MANUFACTURING WORKPLACES
    

    Ontario's workplace health and safety inspectors are focusing on young
and new workers during a blitz in June, soon after many students have begun
their summer jobs and recent graduates have begun full- or part-time work.
    Research conducted by the Institute for Work & Health found that any new
worker, of any age, is as much as four times more likely to be injured during
the first month on the job than at any other time performing that job.
    The young and new worker safety blitz is being performed throughout
Ontario in the service and manufacturing sectors during June 2009. The blitz
will focus on:

    
    -   young, new workers aged 14 to 24 years, and

    -   new workers 25 and older who have been on the job less than six
        months or who have been reassigned to a new job.
    

    Ministry of Labour inspectors will place special emphasis on the safety
of new workers in locations such as retail stores, wholesalers, restaurants,
vehicle sales and service outlets and enterprises involved in tourism. The
ministry is also inspecting workplaces such as golf courses, camps, temporary
amusement parks, tree planting and locations where workers are engaged in
activities such as painting and landscaping.

    
    YOUNG AND NEW WORKERS -
    WHAT WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY INSPECTORS LOOK FOR

    Ontario's team of 430 highly trained workplace health and safety
inspectors are often required to exercise considerable judgement when
assessing working environments, particularly those where young and new workers
are employed.

    Is the workplace prepared for new workers?
    -   General compliance with the OHSA and regulations
    -   Following OHSA and regulations for minimum ages for work and being in
        a workplace
    -   Competent supervisors as required by the OHSA
    -   Commitment by management to excellence in health and safety.

    Are new workers ready for work?
    -   Employers aware of previous safety education, work experience and
        valid certifications/qualifications
    -   Each new worker knows his or her rights and responsibilities.

    Is there comprehensive safety orientation?
    -   Tour of the workplace showing new workers where all OHSA-required
        information and important instructions are posted
    -   Emergency procedures in place; compulsory workplace safety rules
    -   General requirements for personal protective equipment, first aid
        provisions and all other essential health and safety facts.

    Is job-specific training well done and validated?
    -   Training takes place (and is understood) before any new task is
        assigned
    -   Complete training on all safety devices and protective equipment
    -   Trainer is expert at performing the tasks and can teach adequately.

    Are workers supervised adequately?
    -   Supervisors are in regular contact with workers to provide
        instruction and ensure that they are following safe work practices
    -   Workers have access to the supervisor and can ask questions and
        report unsafe working conditions.
    

    Health and safety information resources for young workers

    There's a "Young Worker" portal on the Ministry of Labour's main website:
www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/site/youngworkers
    At the WorkSmartOntario website, www.worksmartontario.gov.on.ca, there's
information on workplace health and safety and workers' employment rights and
responsibilities.
    The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board website for young workers,
www.youngworker.ca, also known as "prevent-it.ca." The site has tips for
starting a new job and for dealing with unsafe workplaces.
    The Ministry of Labour www.worksmartcampus.ca website teaches and
reinforces basic health and safety knowledge for post-secondary students.

    
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                                                      ontario.ca/labour-news
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For further information:

For further information: Susan McConnell, Minister's Office, (416)
326-7710; Bruce Skeaff, Communications Branch, (416) 326-7405

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