In Ontario we have seen a steady decline in injury claims over the past 10 years, but critical injuries and fatalities remain at unacceptable levels.  In response we have been working to transform the health and safety system in Ontario. We are working to create a culture in Ontario where being safe at work is an intrinsic part of every workplace, and ingrained in all workplace parties.

Working at heights is one of the most dangerous types of work. For the past five years falls from heights in all sectors has been the second leading cause of traumatic fatalities.

Prevention of workplace health and safety incidents is supported by the province’s occupational health and safety strategy — Healthy and Safe Ontario Workplaces.  The strategy helps guide system efforts and ensures a clear, common vision and targeted approach for decreasing injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.

When considering how to focus our efforts, it’s important all workplace parties promote prevention efforts in areas of highest risk. Working at heights is one of the most dangerous types of work. For the past five years falls from heights in all sectors has been the second leading cause of traumatic fatalities.

As of April 1, 2015, employers are required to ensure that workers on construction projects who need to use fall protection equipment complete approved working at heights training. This year the ministry will be conducting more than 20 targeted inspection blitzes in high risk sectors to raise safety awareness and help prevent injuries and fatalities, including a targeted blitz in construction focused on falls.

Our health and safety partners are also focusing their efforts this year on preventing falls from heights, providing training, raising awareness, and educating both workers and employers on how to prevent falls. 

In addition to focusing on the highest risk, all workplaces and the health and safety system must adapt and respond to emerging needs of workplaces.  This adjustment includes the recently announced post-traumatic stress disorder prevention strategy to help address this serious issue. Other emerging priorities include general workplace mental health issues along with workplace harassment. 

We can’t do it alone.  Workplace safety is a shared responsibility.  We all need to be responsible for what happens on the worksite every day.  Everyone has a role to play to keep themselves and their workplaces healthy and safe.

By working together — employers, workers, and our health and safety partners — we can take significant steps in preventing worker injuries and deaths.