In February and March 2013, ministry inspectors conducted 285 visits to 221 workplaces and issued 307 orders under the OHSA, including one stop work order.
Most of the workplaces were long term care homes, hospitals and residential group homes. Some were visited several times.
The three most frequently issued orders involved a failure of employers to comply with requirements to:
- assess the risks of workplace violence that may arise from the nature of the workplace, the type of work or the conditions of work
- ensure workplace violence and harassment policies were in writing and conspicuously posted in the workplace and
- review measures and procedures for the health and safety of workers (including from the risk of violence) at least once a year in workplaces governed by the Health Care and Residential Facilities Regulation
Workplace inspection blitzes
Inspection blitzes are part of the province’s Safe at Work Ontario compliance strategy. They are announced to the sector by the ministry in advance although individual workplaces are not identified in advance. Results are posted on the ministry’s website. The blitzes raise awareness of workplace hazards and are intended to promote compliance with the OHSA and its regulations.
Inspectors’ findings may impact the frequency and level of future inspections of individual workplaces. Inspectors may also refer employers to health and safety associations for compliance assistance and health and safety-related training.
Inspectors mainly visited:
- hospitals, including facilities that provide psychiatric care
- long-term care homes
- residential group homes
In particular, inspectors focused on:
- Policies and Programs: Inspectors checked that employers prepared policies and developed programs addressing workplace violence and harassment.
- Information and Instruction: Inspectors checked that employers provided workers with information and instruction on the contents of workplace violence and harassment policies and programs.
- Violence Risks: Inspectors checked that employers had assessed the risks of violence that could arise based on the nature of the workplace and type and conditions of work. They checked that employers reassessed the risk of workplace violence as often as needed to ensure related policies and programs continued to protect workers from workplace violence.
- Violence Control: Inspectors checked that employers developed, established and put into effect written measures and procedures to control the risks of violence identified in an assessment. At workplaces regulated by the Health Care and Residential Facilities Regulation, inspectors checked this was done in consultation with the workplace’s JHSC or health and safety representative.
- Domestic Violence: Inspectors checked for compliance with the employer duty to take every reasonable precaution to protect workers who were at risk of physical injury from domestic violence (if the employer was aware aware of the risk).
- Incident Reporting: Inspectors checked that employers reported injuries from violent incidents to the JHSC or health and safety representative, and trade union (if any).
A total of 132 orders were issued during this blitz. On average, this was almost five orders per field visit. Of the total orders, 14 were stop work orders.
|Orders and requirements per workplace visited||1.41|
|Orders and requirements per field visit||1.09|
|Reason for order||Number of orders||Percentage of total orders issued|
|Employer’s duty to assess workplace violence risks that may arise from nature of workplace, type or conditions of work [OHSA S. 32.0.3(1)]||38||12.22%|
|Employer’s duty to ensure workplace violence and harassment policies are in writing and posted in workplace [OHSA S. 32.0.1(2)]||34||10.93%|
|Employer’s duty to review health and safety measures and procedures, at least annually [HCRF Reg. S. 9(2)]||18||5.79%|
|Employer’s duty to review workplace violence and harassment prevention policies [OHSA S. 32.0.1(1)(c)]||16||5.14%|
|Employer’s duty to reassess workplace violence risks to ensure violence policies continue to protect workers [OHSA S. 32.0.3(4)]||15||4.82%|
|Employer’s duty to, in consultation with the JHSC or health and safety representative, develop, establish and put into effect measures and procedures to protect the health and safety of workers (including from violence) in the workplace [HCRF Reg. S. 8]||15||4.82%|
Inspectors issued a total of 307 orders under the OHSA and the HCRF Regulation, including one stop work order.
The blitz’s results indicate employers need to improve their compliance with requirements to:
- assess risks of workplace violence
- have written policies for violence and harassment posted conspicuously in the workplace and
- review these measures and procedures at least once a year (in workplaces governed by the HCRF Regulation)
The results confirm the need to continue focused enforcement activity in each of the above-noted areas. Inspectors will continue to check that employers comply with the requirements for workplace violence and harassment under the OHSA and for measures and procedures to protect the health and safety of workers, as required by the Health Care and Residential Facilities Regulation.