July 23, 2018
Ontario's top 10 safety violations of 2017
A list of the top 10 safety violations noted by Ministry of Labour inspectors in 2017* reveals the compliance shortcomings of firms in Ontario as well as ministry priorities.

"This release has valuable information you can use to kick start a review of your own health and safety program," says Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS) consultant, John VanLenthe. "It may foreshadow what your potential risks are. This list was compiled from visits to firms in a variety of sectors, but is general enough to use as a guide for your own workplace."

The top 10

  1. Workplace violence and harassment (11,662 violations)
  2. Fall protection (9,658)
  3. Lack of personal protective equipment (8,318)
  4. Improper access and egress (6,472)
  5. Health and safety representative and JHSC (6,239)
  6. Administrative (6,007)
  7. Basic OHS awareness training (5,232)
  8. Improper use/maintenance of ladders/scaffolding (4,846)
  9. Lack of machine/equipment guarding (4,276)
  10. Housekeeping/work surfaces (4,269)

Most common Infraction

"It's not a big surprise the top infraction involves workplace violence and harassment," says VanLenthe. "New harassment requirements were only a year old at the time, but it's clear the ministry expects businesses to comply.
We can expect violence and harassment prevention to be a priority in 2018 as well."

To put these insights to use, business owners should ask themselves questions like: What is our compliance level like? Do we have a violence and harassment policy and program in place? Have we trained supervisors on how to carry out investigations? Do workers know who to turn to if they are in trouble? Once that is done, perform the same analysis for all the other items on the top 10 list.

Beyond compliance

Ensuring you are in compliance in all these areas is important, and may help you during a ministry inspection, but it doesn't mean your workplace is safe. For instance, these 10 items don't cover every aspect of an employer's duties under the law. Compliance represents the ministry's minimum performance standard. It's a safety starting point, not an end point.

Take time to be truly proactive by going back to the basic questions. What does my business do? What are the activities? What are the risks involved in what I'm doing. Is the training adequate? Make health and safety effective for your workplace by going beyond compliance.

Get help

WSPS offers training, e-courses, and downloads on every aspect of building a health and safety program, and have consultants standing by with information and support. Explore online resources by topic and hazard, chat with a duty consultant about custom consulting services by calling 1-877-494-WSPS (9777), and plan now to join the 2019 Safety Group. It's part of a WSIB performance-based premium rebate program. Participating companies work together on key safety initiatives designed to reduce injury frequency and severity. The 2016 Safety Group members earned a collective rebate of $7.4 million.
* Ministry of Labour Assistant Deputy Minister, Peter Augruso, shared this list with delegates attending a session on Ministry of Labour priorities for 2018-2019 at WSPS’ 2018 Partners in Prevention Health & Safety Conference & Trade Show, May 1-2, 2018.