Article from the London Free Press by MAX MARTIN Updated: July 15, 2019


The Ministry of Labour has launched a summer-long workplace inspection blitz to enhance new and young worker safety.

Ontario’s Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton announced the initiative during a press conference at London’s Thames pool on Ridout Street Monday.

“It’s important to me as minister that we ensure we have the safest and healthiest conditions on job sites across the province,” McNaughton said.

The provincewide blitz is designed to target the safety of summer students and follows months of business outreach to help create safe workplaces. A focus of the outreach was on ensuring proper orientation programs were in place for young people starting summer jobs.

Retail, restaurants, hospitality and recreational services will be the focus of the inspections — sectors that often hire students in the summer months.

The blitz began on July 15, 2019 and runs until August 30, 2019.

Workers new to a job are three times more likely to get hurt during their first month at work. Temporary workers and new hires are also at increased risk of a workplace injury.

“Every mom and dad expects their child to return home from work every night,” said McNaughton. “Any death or injury on the job is one too many for me.”

McNaughton said between 2014 and 2018, 24 young workers in the province lost their lives on the job.

“We can do better, and we must do better to protect all workers in Ontario.”

Workplace tragedy isn’t unfamiliar to the London region.

In 2013, 21-year-old Jeremy Bowley was fatally electrocuted while working as a summer employee with a tent rental company. A pole the crew was installing for a wedding tent struck an overhead line, killing Bowley and injuring four others — all between the ages of 17 and 25.

McNaughton hopes that the inspection blitz will protect summer students from injury.

A similar safety initiative was conducted in 2018, where the Ministry of Labour visited 1,901 workplaces. They issued 7,675 orders under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, including 116 stop work orders.