The Ministry of Labour will focus on lockout and guarding hazards involving conveyor systems in its latest safety blitz, from November 1 to December 31, 2010. Inspectors will visit industrial workplaces during this period to ensure that: conveyors have proper guarding devices; conveyors are being locked out when needed; and conveyor workers are protected from developing musculoskeletal disorders, such as repetitive strain injuries.
The blitz is a part of the government’s Safe At Work Ontario strategy, launched in June 2008. Safe workplaces offer reassurance to workers, increased productivity for businesses and less strain on the health care system.
“We want everyone to be aware of the guarding and lockout hazards involving conveyor systems, and need to make sure all measures are in place to prevent injuries,” said the Ministry of Labour’s Peter Fonseca. “At the end of the day, workers should return home safe and sound to their families.”
Ontario employs 430 full-time occupational health and safety inspectors. Inspectors will take a “zero tolerance” approach to any contraventions found under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.
Guarding and lockout hazards involving conveyor systems are a potential problem at any industrial workplace that uses this equipment. Between 2005 and 2008, two workers died and 48 workers were seriously injured in conveyor incidents in Ontario. Between 2005 and 2008, workers missed an average of about 68 days due to a conveyor injury, according to WSIB lost-time injury data. In addition, the total number of workdays lost during that timeframe was 74,459.
Read more about Ontario’s Safe at Work Ontario strategy at www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/sawo/index.php.