McGuinty Government Moves To Help Protect Workers From Occupational Diseases

    Changes Will Strengthen Exposure Limits For Hazardous Chemical Substances

    TORONTO, April 4 /CNW/ - The McGuinty Government continues to improve
protection for workers by introducing new or more protective occupational
exposure limits (OELs), Labour Minister Steve Peters announced today.
    "Over exposure to hazardous substances is a major cause of occupational
illness that also adds significant costs to businesses through lost time and
higher workplace insurance premiums," said Peters. "With these 16 changes, our
government has now updated limits for over 100 substances, including 34
substances that previously did not have limits in Ontario, since we initiated
an annual review process in 2004."
    The annual process helps to protect workers by regularly updating
exposure limits to hazardous chemical substances. This is the third revision
under this system of Ontario's over 700 OELs for dangerous substances found in
workplaces. The review process combines the latest scientific and medical
information, and input from industry and labour stakeholders.

    New or revised limits now being introduced include:

    -   Monochloroacetic acid (new)
    -   Calcium sulfate/Gypsum (revised)
    -   Iron oxide/Rouge (revised)

    For more information, including a full list of changes, see the Ministry
of Labour website at
    "The health and safety of Ontario workers is our number one concern,"
said Peters. "Creating safe, healthy workplaces benefits all Ontarians."

    Disponible en français




    In 2004, the Government of Ontario initiated an annual revision system
for occupational exposure limits (OELs). The system protects workers by
updating OELs based on stakeholder input and on recommendations from the
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH). Over
exposure to hazardous chemical substances is a major cause of occupational
illness and adds significant costs to businesses through lost time and higher
workplace insurance costs.

    What are OELs?

    Regulated under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, OELs restrict the
amount and duration of workers' exposure to hazardous workplace substances,
such as asbestos, benzene and lead. Ontario currently has OELs for over 700

    The consultation process

    Consultations on the third group of OELs to be reviewed under the annual
process were held in the summer of 2006.
    OELs are now being introduced for two substances that did not previously
have an exposure limit in Ontario. Another 14 previously listed substances are
being revised. Ten substances that the ACGIH had recommended removing will be
maintained, based on comments received during consultations.

    New or revised OELs or listings, effective immediately:

    Calcium sulfate                      Iron oxide
    Carbon disulfide                     2-Methoxyethanol
    Coumaphos                            2-Methoxyethyl acetate
    1,2-Dichloropropane (listed as       Monochloroacetic acid
     Propylene dichloride)               Propylene
    Fenamiphos                           Rouge (listed as Iron oxide)
    Fenthion                             Ronnel
    Fonofos                              1,1,2,2-Tetrabromoethane
    Gypsum (listed as Calcium sulfate)

    Substances recommended by ACGIH for removal that will be maintained:

    Diatomaceous earth                   Silica fused
    Magnesite                            Silica gel
    Perlite (a)                          Silicon
    Precipitated silica                  Tetrasodium pyrophosphate
    Silica fume                          Vegetable oils (mists, with some

    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Members of the general public: 1-800-268-8013;
Members of the media: Belinda Sutton, Ministry of Labour, (416) 326-7405;
Susan McConnell, Minister's Office, (416) 326-7710

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