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Ontario blitz focuses on machine guarding

Inspections will take place through month of March

March 5, 2020
Sam Speziale

Improperly guarded machines are the focus of a provincewide inspection blitz on until the end of March.

“If industrial hazards are overlooked, people can be badly hurt or even killed,” said labour minister Monte McNaughton in his Feb. 18 announcement of the latest round of workplace inspections.

Ministry inspectors are visiting industrial workplaces across the province to ensure safety restrictions mandated by the Occupational Health and Safety Act are being respected.

Inspections will focus on industrial workplaces including automotive, food and beverage, wood and metal fabrication, textiles and printing, chemical, rubber and plastics, ceramics, logging and pulp and paper.

“Ontario’s one of the safest workplaces in North America, but we can always do better. That’s why I launched the machine-guarding safety blitz,” McNaughton said in a recent interview. “We want to make sure that the rules are being followed to the letter.”

A key part of the blitz is to re-educate staff on current safety restrictions as a way to facilitate risk reduction in workplaces, he said.

“This blitz is a great way to bring awareness to health and safety rules when it comes to machine guarding.”

Machine-guarding practices prevent industrial equipment from unintentionally starting or moving and are used for tasks such as machine repair.

The blitz is also meant to ensure electrical workers are following current safety restrictions, said McNaughton.

“Electrical workers can also be at a risk of a major electrical hazard if the improper lockup procedures are used, so there will be a focus on that element as well. We know that it’s one of the most dangerous trades,” he said.

Last year, the machine-guarding blitz saw inspectors visit 602 workplaces and issue 2,998 orders.