Workplace Injury Rate Down By 20 Per Cent

    McGuinty Government Introduces New Plan To Build On Success

    TORONTO, June 11 /CNW/ -


    Ontario has achieved a 20 per cent reduction in the annual rate of
workplace injuries.
    To build on this success, Ontario is launching a new four year plan -
Safe At Work Ontario. The new strategic plan will emphasize both the safety of
Ontario workers and the increased productivity that safe workplaces bring to
Ontario's economy.
    The Safe At Work Ontario
( plan allows ministry
inspectors to be flexible and strategic in determining which businesses
require their attention based on a number of factors including:

    -   Injury rates and associated costs
    -   A company's compliance history
    -   The presence of young workers.

    The goal of the plan is to enforce the Occupational Health and Safety Act
while educating workers about the importance of workplace safety and lessening
the burden on the health care system. To achieve this, inspectors will work
with employers to develop a stronger health and safety culture.


    "The McGuinty government and its workplace partners are committed to
eliminating all workplace injuries," said Labour Minister Brad Duguid
( "Workers have a right
to come home each day to their families, safe and sound."


    -   A compliance program that ran from April 1, 2004 to March 31, 2008
        reduced the workplace injury rate by 20 per cent, or more than 50,000
    -   Because of this drop in the annual rate of lost time injuries,
        employers have avoided about $5 billion in direct and indirect costs
        during the four years ending March 31, 2008. Reduced injuries also
        result in less strain on the health care system, and fewer workers
        off the job means increased productivity for Ontario's economy.
    -   Ontario employs 430 full-time health and safety inspectors.


    Read more about Ontario's new four year plan, Safe at Work Ontario
(, that will help strengthen
workplace safety.

                                                       Disponible en français

                           GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES NEW

    Safe At Work Ontario is the McGuinty government's new four-year workplace
safety compliance strategy, designed to:
    -   improve the health and safety culture of workplaces
    -   reduce workplace injuries and illness
    -   improve productivity for businesses and strengthen Ontario's economy
    -   lessen the burden on the health care system
    -   save costs for employers and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
        (WSIB), and
    -   provide a level playing field for compliant companies.

    This strategy builds on the success of the ministry's four-year compliance
strategy, which ended this spring. It focused mainly on workplaces with higher
than average lost-time injury (LTI) rates and claim costs. Under the new
strategy, the ministry will focus on workplaces according to a variety of
factors, including:

    -   injury rates and associated costs
    -   compliance history of companies
    -   hazards inherent to the work
    -   new businesses
    -   size of businesses
    -   specific events or incidents (e.g., critical or fatal injuries, or
    -   presence of new, young or otherwise vulnerable workers.


    -   Ministry of Labour inspectors can refer workplaces to Health and
        Safety Associations (HSAs) for additional assistance and training.

    -   Improved program flexibility and effectiveness in determining the
        most appropriate workplaces for intervention - the ministry is not
        limiting its inspections to workplaces with injuries. It is also
        focusing on workplaces with higher risks of injuries using indicators
        such as inherent hazards and poor compliance records.

    A fundamental component of this new plan is the development of annual
sector-specific plans that provide the flexibility to focus on sector specific
hazards and characteristics. The ministry has developed strategies for
industrial, health care, construction and mining sectors which specify how the
new identification criteria will be used.
    The results of the inspection will determine the level of engagement and
frequency of subsequent inspections for that workplace.
    The ministry will also continue to work with our system's education and
prevention partners, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and the
Health and Safety Associations (HSAs), to identify and engage employers with
high rates of injury.


    The Ministry of Labour has a primary responsibility to ensure that
workplaces comply with Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act and
related legislation.

    A strong health and safety workplace culture consists of:
    -   Competence (appropriate knowledge and training, systems for
        responding to events, properly functioning JHSC and other IRS
    -   Commitment (demonstration by the employer of leadership on health and
        safety, appropriate policies and procedures to protect workers, low
        tolerance for poor health and safety practices, insistence upon full
        compliance), and
    -   Capacity (adequate resources for preventing injuries, good system for
        obtaining assistance from HSAs and the WSIB).


SOURCES For more information, employees and employers may call the Ontario Ministry of Labour's Health and Safety Inquiries line at 416-326-3835 (in the GTA) and 1-800-268-8013 (province-wide) Written information - including occupational health and safety fact sheets - can be accessed via the Ontario Ministry of Labour's website ( ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Disponible en français

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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