New awareness campaign
Ontario’s health and safety system launched an eight-week awareness campaign last month to remind workers and employers to prevent injuries. The focus is on construction safety, but the message applies to all the industries IHSA serves.
The campaign features striking ads—showing x-rays of broken bones—that highlight the seriousness of workplace injuries and the need to eliminate them.
IHSA recommends that you download the poster (at right), print off some copies, and post them in your workplace to raise awareness about injury prevention.
Sponsoring the campaign are the Ministry of Labour (MOL), the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), and the Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA).
Labour Minister Peter Fonseca kicked off the campaign in Toronto before heading off to other stops in his province-wide tour promoting occupational health and safety.
Peter Fonseca, Minister of Labour
“Workers, supervisors, and employers need to watch out for each other,” said Fonseca.
“I hope these strong messages will remind them of what’s at stake. It’s about lives, limbs, and livelihoods. It’s about going home to your family safe and sound at the end of the work day,” he said.
The key messages of the campaign are for workers, supervisors, and employers to
- train properly
- be aware of dangers
- keep everyone safe.
“Driving” home the messages
The campaign partners are using posters, newspapers, and social marketing, but they’re also using an unconventional communications “vehicle” to get the message into workers’ hands: the traditional construction-site coffee truck.
In seven communities across Ontario, coffee-and-snack trucks displaying the campaign ads will visit construction sites, honking their horns and selling their wares. When workers buy coffee, they’ll get their cups in sleeves that say “Work safe today. Go home tonight.” The sleeves also display Ontario’s new prevention hotline.
Call for help
During the campaign, the MOL is featuring its new hotline for reporting of unsafe work. If you see something unsafe happening in your workplace—or in someone else’s—you can call 1-877-202-0008. The MOL will then determine how to respond.
The new hotline provides a way for you and your co-workers to do the ethical thing for the sake of workers at risk.
- a video about fall hazards on residential construction projects
- a fact sheet on preventing falls for employers and supervisors
- a tip sheet on preventing falls for workers
- best-practice guidelines.
The ministry is also enhancing its enforcement activities to improve construction-site safety. The MOL will
- target repeat offenders and shut down construction projects when workers’ lives are in danger
- focus on training and supervision during inspections
- emphasize the “hierarchy of fall protection”: guardrails first, then travel restraint, and then—only as a last resort—fall-arrest systems.
The ministry is also proposing regulatory amendments that would require employers to notify the ministry before they use suspended access equipment.
In September, the ministry plans to launch a pilot program to reduce underground economic activity in construction. They will work with Tarion Warranty Corporation, the regulator of the new-home building sector, to locate unregistered homebuilders. The goal is to improve compliance with requirements for revenue reporting, notification requirements, worker training, and workplace health and safety.
The MOL continues to consult with the IHSA-sponsored labour-management health and safety network. For example, the MOL will be seeking input on issues such as
- expanding the use of enforcement tools (such as ticketing and summons)
- increasing fines
- mandatory training for workers and supervisors on fall-protection and high-hazard construction activities.
To learn more about how IHSA's training programs, services, and products can help you comply with health and safety law in Ontario, visit www.ihsa.ca or call us at 1-800-781-2726.