The 411 On Young Workers


Training and compliance are essential at all levels of experience, but young workers are statistically more likely to be involved in accidents. Newly published results from the Ministry of Labour’s 2014 New and Young Workers Blitz revealed workers are three times more likely to be injured during their first month on the job than at any other time. Here’s the latest buzz around young workers. Do your part to help this critical sector of the workforce thrive!

  • The Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives recently released a report concluding that young people need more student aid and more help transitioning into the workforce. The key takeaways were that work experience, gender issues for women, student debt, and poor information can prevent young people from achieving stable employment after graduation. It was suggested that companies modify their qualification requirements to better include young people with less experience.
  • A contracting company in the Calgary region is facing several OH&S charges, including inappropriately employing a person younger than 15 years old, following a July incident in which a 14-year-old employee fell from a roof. The province also came under fire over the summer when a 15-year-old was killed in a conveyor accident near Wintering Hills.
  • Responding to increases in non-unionized, part-time and contract work, a new non-profit hopes to help workers understand their rights, navigate legal and bureaucratic systems, and file insurance claims. The Sudbury Workers Education and Advocacy Centre specifically aims to help young workers understand their rights and protect themselves from being taken advantage of by employers. The organization will present educational workshops in high schools throughout the year.

Opening up opportunities to young workers can certainly be beneficial, but it comes with the additional responsibility of ensuring they have been properly trained and educated BEFORE they go to work. Learning on the job is not sufficient.

Keep in mind that everyone learns differently, and at different speeds. Also remember how valuable seasoned employees can be in sharing their stories and guidance with those just starting out.

Safety News You Can Use


  • The Ministry of Labour announced a new training standard which includes hazard identification, ladder safety, the proper use of PPE, and the rights and responsibilities regarding working at heights. The Working at Heights Training Program Standard, which goes into effect on April 1, will be mandatory for all provincial worksites that fall under the Regulations for Construction Projects. The standard applies immediately to all Ontario construction workers who have not already been trained under the Regulations for Construction Projects. Those who already have this training have until April 1, 2017 to qualify for the new requirements.
  • Also in Ontario, businesses should prepare for two upcoming Health & Safety blitzes, both running from Feb 2 – March 15. Industrial sector will see a Slips, Trips and Falls blitz, and Mining businesses should anticipate Water Management inspections.
  • The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) has called on all employers in the province, including the provincial government, to review and revise safety protocols. The initiative comes in response to two recent courts decisions on OH&S violations which resulted in fatalities. In both cases, charges included failure to provide proper information, training, PPE, instruction and supervision, in addition to other charges.
  • BC’s Southern Railway (SRY) has shut the gates at work sites and hired security guards to remove over 100 workers. Managers are now in charge of operating trains for a service area that stretches from Vancouver to Chilliwack. There are concerns over whether or not managers, who are qualified on paper, have the experience necessary run trains safely. The lockout is a result of unresolved health and safety concerns around fatigue, overtime, wages, and working conditions.



Safety News You Can Use



  •  A Brampton manufacturer has pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that certain Occupational Health and Safety Act measures and procedures were carried out when a worker was severely burned in a 2012 accident. The court imposed an $80,000 fine, plus a 25% victim surcharge, which will be credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime. The worker is not expected to recover or be able to return to work.
  • The Ministry of Labour is considering extending noise protection requirements to certain workplaces that are not currently covered by noise requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.  Industries that might be affected include: health care facilities, schools, farming operations, fire services, police services and amusement parks. The consultation proposal is available for public review and comment until December 29th.
  • Toyota Canada has been fined $65,000 after a worker was caught in a moving production line. The incident took place in October, when an employee on an instrument panel line noticed part of the production line was running in slow mode and reached under the line to press a reset button while the line was in operation.
  • A report has indicated that the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is still giving rebates to companies that have been found guilty of safety violations leading to injury or death. The Ontario Federation of Labour compared the practices to ‘giving the finger’ to injured workers. Minister of labour Kevin Flynn told reporters that he expects a resolution in early 2015, but he wouldn’t say which changes will be made. 


Safety News You Can Use


  • Congratulations to the fourth annual Canada’s Safest Employers award winners! Companies who took home top honours include: Borger Group, Cementation, London Hydro, Nestle Waters Canada, and Techmation Electric & Controls Ltd.
  • In a province-wide standardization effort, Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) training in Ontario is getting updated for the first time since 1996. The new program, set to take effect in 2015, will include mandatory JHSC member training on at least six industry-specific standardized hazards.
  •  A fire at an industrial facility in Sarnia killed one worker and injured several others when a dust collection system outside the building exploded and caused structural damage. The incident is being investigated by The Ministry of Labour, Sarnia Police Service, and Office of the Fire Marshall.
  • In response to the deadly Lac Megantic derailment of 2013, the government announced new safety protocols. In addition to hiring 10 new safety auditors across Canada, new measures include tougher hand brake requirements for parked trains, more research on volatile crude oil properties and a requirement that short-line rail companies, such as the one involved in the Lac-Megantic crash, submit training plans for review.

Don’t Get Blindsided by a Blitz


As part of its continued commitment to preventing workplace injuries and illness through the Safe At Work Ontario initiative, The Ministry of Labour is running several blitzes that we thought should be on your radar. Please visit for a full schedule and details.

Machine Guarding Blitz From November 3 through December 14, Ministry of Labour inspectors will visit wood and metal fabrication, manufacturing, chemical and plastics and automotive plants and other industrial sector workplaces. The blitz will focus on hazards that could lead to crushing and other injuries as well as occupational disease. The ministry will check for hazards involving guards or other devices, and improper lockout of machines and equipment. Inspectors will look to see that employers are taking appropriate action to assess and address these hazards, as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the Regulations for Industrial Establishments.

Ground Control Blitz – The ministry will continue the October/November blitz focusing on ground control in Ontario’s mining sector. The blitz will address hazards affecting the stability of excavations in underground and surface mines. Mining inspectors and engineers will focus specifically on the stability of the ‘face’ and ‘slope’ of mining sites. To prepare, please take a look at the Fact Sheet.

The ministry aims to protect workers’ rights under both the OHSA and the ESA (Employment Standards Act), and enhance employers’ awareness of their responsibilities. The blitzes and initiative were designed to generate long-lasting improvements in compliance, fewer injuries, and fewer breaches of employment standards. Findings are generally reported soon after completion.

Safety News You Can Use


  • The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) announced last month that premium rates will not increase for most employers. Maintaining current rates for the second consecutive year can be attributed to improvements in return to work outcomes, more timely adjudication, and lower claim volumes. Only Local Government Services will see rates increase.
  • A Newfoundland and Labrador fishing company that pled guilty to several Occupational Health and Safety breaches has been fined $90,000. Provincial court ruled that the 2012 death occurred as a result of failure to provide necessary employee safety training.
  • Alberta’s provincial Ministry of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour has begun inspecting gravel crushing worksites following two unrelated deaths in July. The previously scheduled inspections began several weeks early, in response to the two incidents, and will run through September.
  • Results from the May 2014 Ministry of Labour excavation hazards blitz revealed a decrease in the number of orders and requirements (per workplace visited and per field visit), as compared to the 2013 blitz. While this is a sign of overall improvement, there were still frequent compliance issues in the areas of: support systems, personal protective headwear, and emergency procedures.

Hot Topic: Farm Safety


The Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting program (CAIR) reported that an average of 104 people died every year from agricultural incidents between 1990 and 2008. Recently, several Canadian farms have come under public scrutiny for questionable safety practices. An eastern Saskatchewan chicken ranch was ordered to stop hiring underage workers last month, following multiple child labour complaints. In Ontario, police are investigating the death of a North Walsingham tobacco farmer who drove his fertilizer spreader off a 75-foot embankment into a pond.

Agriculture is considered one of Canada’s most hazardous industries, so farm owner/operators have considerable challenges to face in keeping workers and visitors safe. Ensuring the safety of not only workers, but other adults and children who may visit or live on the farm is critical. Prominently displaying safety and first aid signs will communicate a safety-first attitude, in addition to offering guidance. Proper PPE and lockout/tagout protocol is also critical in avoiding machine-related injuries. Be careful in selecting workers who are competent, confident, responsible, and capable to operate machinery. If you need assistance establishing safe practices on your farm, check out The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA)’s comprehensive FarmSafe Plan.

Farms can be fun, exciting, and lucrative – but only if safety is the #1 priority. The Ministry of Labour offers extensive information on farm equipment and general agricultural compliance and safety. The Canada Safety Council offers the following safety training courses that may be of interest to farm operators and employees.

  • ARGO Operator Course
  • ATV Rider Course
  • Confined Spaces Training Course
  • Ladder Safety Training Course
  • Snowmobile Operators Course
  • Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) Side by Side Course
  • WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) Training Course

Be sure and stay on top of industry and equipment-related updates, ask questions, and empower the experts in your facility so that your farm can get the most out of the remainder of the season.

Raise the Bar on Forklift Safety


Forklifts are essential for lifting and moving heavy loads on the job, but injuries related to these extremely powerful machines can be quite serious. Because they often need to navigate through tight spaces, they are generally small and narrow, making tipping a common problem. Tipping is frequently caused when operators are not aware of the machine’s load capacity, and overload the lift. The best ways to avoid tipping and other accidents are: comprehensive operator safety training and thorough preoperational inspections.

One in fifteen forklift-related accidents is caused by improper maintenance and, as such, inspections should occur at the start of each work shift. Individuals working with and around forklifts should be trained not only on how to properly operate the machinery, but also on recognizing hazards associated with the equipment and environment in which they are being operated. Forklift Safety Signs will help remind workers of hazards and procedures. Some maintenance areas not to be overlooked during pre-shift inspection are: tires, hoses, brakes, gas and propane tanks, and lift mechanisms. Upon sighting an issue or potential issue, it should be tagged immediately for a trained professional to fix. Special care should be taken to ensure that new, young, and seasonal operators are properly trained and in compliance. Further tips and checklists are available on The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety site, which will also help you prepare for the upcoming Ministry of Labour Material Handling blitz that begins on September 15th.

Safety News You Can Use

  • safetyglobeThe Ministry of Labour will start industrial sector Material Handling blitzes on September 15th – are you and your workers ready? 
  • Owners of a sawmill that exploded in Prince George, B.C., have been fined more than $720,000 by WorkSafeBC. The mill was in violation of the Workers Compensation Act and occupational health and safety regulations as a result of the explosion that killed two workers and injured twenty-two others in April of 2012.
  •  The Ministry of Labour has published a new version of the “What You Should Know About The Ontario Employment Standards Act” poster. Employers are required to have the newest version of the “ESA Poster” posted in the workplace at all times. Failure to comply with posting requirements can result in compliance orders and fines.
  • In the wake of 15-year-old Chris Lawrence’s death at a construction site near Drumheller, Alberta Occupational Health and Safety officials are being urged to toughen worker laws. The Alberta Federation of Labour called the fatality a “tragic reminder of Alberta’s unsafe work laws”.
  • Effective July 1st, Saskatchewan employers who violate Occupational Health & Safety regulations will now receive summary offence tickets carrying fines ranging from $250 to $1,000 plus victim surcharges. Two designated occupational health officers can now issue tickets for 12 specified offences.


School Safety 101


After a comprehensive series of health and safety inspections in Ontario schools, the Ministry of Labour issued 6,600 non-compliance orders, including 283 stop work orders (June 2012). We want to help ensure you are in compliance BEFORE the new school year begins. Some areas to focus on include: proper labeling & identification, housekeeping practices, safety & facility signage, and PPE & first aid supplies. Areas like science labs must have proper chemical storage, labeling, and ventilation. Both teachers and students who could be exposed to chemical spills and injuries should be outfitted with goggles, face shields, gloves, aprons, and other applicable PPE. First aid equipment, eye wash stations, and fire extinguishers should be easily accessible and clearly indicated.

When it comes to machinery, keep in mind proper training and signage, lockout/tagout, and maintenance. Of course, cleanliness also plays a large role in student and teacher safety. In addition to stocking adequate maintenance and first aid supplies, matting in entrances and high traffic zones can help prevent accidents and improve air quality. Parking lot signs are also critical in keeping students, workers, and visitors safe. Properly identify people and equipment with Seton’s large selection of labels, tags, nameplates, badges, IDs, parking permits, and more.

Once you’ve done your part to ensure safety in and around your school, get the students involved by passing along these fun and effective classroom activities from Live Safe, Work Smart.