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Safety blitz targets personal protective equipment


October 18, 2011
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Ministry of Labour inspectors will check on personal protective equipment at Ontario workplaces in the industrial and health care sectors in October.

The increased enforcement is part of the province’s Safe At Work Ontario strategy, launched in June 2008.

Inspectors will focus on hazards involving the choice, use and maintenance of personal protective equipment. Workers using inappropriate or poorly maintained equipment are at risk of injury and illness.

Personal protective equipment acts as a barrier to guard workers against hazards such as blows to the body, loud noise, heat, chemicals and infection. The equipment includes protective clothing, helmets, shoes, goggles, respirators and other safety gear worn by workers.

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Thousands of workers have lost time at work due to incidents that could have been prevented if they wore proper personal protective equipment.

In 2010, 1,075 workers received injuries that, in some cases, caused temporary or permanent vision loss due to impacts with objects. In that same year, 1,515 workers received head injuries due to impacts with objects and 1,120 workers suffered foot injuries caused by crushing, puncturing or dousing with hazardous substances.

In many cases, the injured workers were wearing improper eye, head or foot protection or no protection at all.

Workers need to wear personal protective equipment when they are at risk of: eye injury due to possible flying particles, dust, vapours, chemicals or intense light sources; head injury due to possible falling or flying objects, fixed object blows or exposed energized electrical conductors; or foot injury due to possible falling or rolling objects, sharp objects or exposed energized electrical conductors.

For more information, visit www.ontario.ca.