Workplace Safety Strategy Preventing Injuries And Saving Money



    McGuinty Government On Target In Improving Worker Safety

    TORONTO, April 18 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government's workplace health and
safety strategy continues to produce dramatic results by preventing the human
cost of workplace injuries and avoiding costs for businesses, Labour Minister
Steve Peters announced today.
    "Our plan is working - we are well on track to reduce the lost-time
injury rate by 20 per cent by 2008. In 2006, there were more than
15,600 injuries prevented," said Peters. "And we continue to take strong,
aggressive action to ensure that when Ontarians go off to work they come home
safe and sound."
    As a result of the strategy, there have been 30,340 fewer lost-time
injuries to Ontario workers over the past three years than there otherwise
would have been. This has resulted in Ontario businesses avoiding more than
$2 billion in costs associated with workplace injuries. A lost-time injury
occurs when a worker loses wages as a result of a temporary or permanent work
injury.
    Peters made the announcement today at the opening of this year's annual
conference of the International Association of Labour Inspection. It was
Ontario's success in workplace health and safety that attracted the
association to hold its conference here - the first time ever in North
America.
    The strategy involves initiatives by the government and its health and
safety partners, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), Health and
Safety Associations, and Ontario employers and workers.
    The government and its partners have taken bold steps to meet their goal
to reduce workplace injuries by 20 per cent by 2008, including:

    
    -   Hiring 200 new health and safety inspectors.
    -   Focusing ministry inspections on firms with the highest injury rate
        and highest WSIB costs - up to 6,000 annually - and inspecting them
        up to four times a year.
    -   Giving more than 5,000 other workplaces per year a "last chance" to
        voluntarily improve their health and safety records with the help of
        the WSIB and 12 health and safety associations.
    -   Promoting the on-going Pains and Strains Campaign to help reduce
        ergonomic-related injuries, which account for 42 per cent of all
        lost-time injuries in Ontario.
    -   Promoting young worker health and safety.
    

    "The workplace health and safety strategy is saving thousands of workers
the pain and suffering of serious workplace injuries," said Peters. "And with
fewer workplace injuries, employers are benefiting by avoiding costs
associated with lost production, retraining costs and equipment damage. The
many partnerships we have formed in our workplaces, with labour, companies,
business associations, health and safety organizations and others are key to
our success."

    Disponible en français

    
                             www.labour.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
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                  OUTSTANDING RESULTS PRODUCED BY ONTARIO'S
                     WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY STRATEGY
    


    The workplace health and safety strategy

    In July 2004, the McGuinty government announced its plans to reduce
workplace injuries by 20 per cent through a comprehensive, integrated health
and safety strategy using education, training, legislation/regulation and
enforcement. The strategy's goal is that, by 2008, there will be 20,000 fewer
lost-time injuries than would have otherwise occurred and that this level will
be maintained. Lost-time injuries are claims by workers who have lost wages by
missing work as a result of a temporary or permanent work injury.
    The strategy is being carried out through the high-risk workplace
initiative and the targeted inspection of priority firms.

    The high-risk workplace initiative

    The high-risk workplace initiative is focusing on workplaces with the
highest injury rates and costs. When the initiative was launched two per cent
of all firms insured by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)
accounted for 10 per cent of all lost-time injuries and 21 per cent of injury
costs in Ontario.
    In the complementary "Last Chance" initiative, safe workplace
associations were challenged to work with the Ministry of Labour by providing
5,000 workplaces with a "last chance" to voluntarily work on their injury
track records.
    By assisting and educating these workplaces with high injury rates on
healthier and safer work practices - while continuing to give priority to
investigating workplace fatalities, critical injuries, work refusals, work
stoppages and immediate hazards to worker health and safety - lost-time
injuries can be reduced by 20 per cent. This will have significant benefit for
Ontario's health and safety system and the quality of life for the people of
Ontario.
    Through its high-risk workplace initiative, the ministry is targeting its
inspections on as many as 6,000 firms with the highest injury rate and highest
WSIB costs. Inspectors are visiting these sites up to four times a year,
focusing on workplace hazards to help firms reduce on-the-job injuries.

    Results

    In less than three years of implementation, results show the workplace
health and safety strategy is working and the government is on track to
achieve its four-year commitment to reduce injuries by 20 per cent, with
20,000 fewer lost-time injuries.
    Since the overall workplace health and safety strategy began, there have
been 30,340 fewer lost-time injuries than would have otherwise occurred.
According to the WSIB, this injury reduction represents more than $2 billion
in costs that were avoided by Ontario businesses.
    Ontario's lost-time injury rate was reduced from 2.2 per 100 workers in
2003 to 2.1 in 2004. It was further reduced to 2.0 in 2005, as targeted. In
2006 it dropped to 1.9. The goal for 2008 is 1.8 injuries per 100 workers. A
lost-time injury occurs when a worker loses wages by missing work as a result
of a temporary or permanent work-related injury.

    For further information:

    Media enquiries:
    Belinda Sutton
    Ministry of Labour
    416-326-7405

    Disponible en français

    
                             www.labour.gov.on.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Media enquiries: Susan McConnell, Minister's
Office, (416) 326-7710; Belinda Sutton, Ministry of Labour, (416) 326-7405

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Ontario Ministry of Labour

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