TORONTO — Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer George Gritziotis has released his annual report highlighting significant improvements in workplace safety in the past year.
The Occupational Health and Safety in Ontario: 2015-16 Annual Report revealed that in 2015 Ontario had fewer occupational injury and illness claims, fewer critical injury events and fewer workplace fatalities.
Among the highlights identified by Gritziotis, over 106,000 workers were trained in the new Working at Heights training program in 12 months, and a new all-sector noise regulation, created under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, was introduced.
Ministry of Labour statistics indicated there were 226 workplace-related fatalities in 2015, including 72 traumatic fatalities and 154 occupational disease fatalities.
In 2015 there were 51,570 lost-time injury claims, 122,133 no-lost-time injury claims, 476 claims per day and 873 critical injury events reported to the Ministry of Labour — 13.75 for every 100,000 workers.
Lost-time injury claims were down 5.1 per cent since 2006 and 3.9 per cent since 2014.
Traumatic fatalities were down 11.1 per cent in 2015 from the year before.
Ministry stats revealed workplace enforcement efforts rose significantly in 2015-2016. Field visits were up 5.9 per cent from the year before, workplace visits rose five per cent and there were 127,088 orders for non-compliance — down 3.1 per cent from 2014.
"Going forward we will continue to address the highest risks in occupational health and safety, such as occupational disease exposures, and target certain sectors where the incidence of injury, illness and fatality is persistently high," said Gritziotis in a statement.
"We will also turn our attention to issues of growing importance such as violence in the health care sector and workplace mental health and increase support to all businesses with tailored supports for small businesses and vulnerable worker groups."
The report also noted the establishment of a new occupational health clinic for Ontario workers in eastern Ontario to improve access to occupational health and safety services across the province.
The provincial government has established new standards to improve the quality and consistency of training for joint health and safety committee members and strengthen workplace internal responsibility systems.