Throughout 2019, the Ontario government has been overviewing the construction, mining, industrial and healthcare industries on an array of topics. Their plan has been active since April 1, 2019, and ends on March 31, 2020.

There will be two phases to each initiative, focusing on a different health and safety topic.

Phase 1
Education, Outreach, and Awareness.
a) Give workplace parties the tools and knowledge to comply with health and safety requirements.
b) Workplaces can prepare and access resources before the inspection blitz begins.

Phase 2
Inspection Blitz
a) Inspectors conduct field visits to ensure employers are complying with OHSA regulations and raise awareness of non-compliance issues.
b) The inspectors will engage the workplaces to promote compliance and will provide support where appropriate.

Respiratory Protection and Musculoskeletal Disorders

September 1 to December 27, 2019.

This initiative will be taking place in all sectors, ie: construction, mining, healthcare, industrial, and commercial repair.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the number one workplace injury type reported to WSIB in 2017.

The inspection blitz around MSDs will focus on ensuring proper training has been given on safe material handling practices, that work areas are properly maintained and clean, proper ladder safety training and knowledge is available, and that proper assistive devices are available and functional.

Respiratory Hazards, between 2008 and 2017, accounted for 70% of WSIB costs and the highest number of long latency illnesses.

The inspection blitz will focus on reducing exposure risk of lead dust and fumes from welding and grinding, silica dust from cutting and breaking concrete, solvent vapours from adhesives and sprays, carbon monoxide from gas engines, and particulate from woodworking.

What should you focus on?

Employers must take every reasonable precaution to reduce workers’ exposure to respiratory hazards and reducing musculoskeletal strain. This includes putting in place:

  • engineering controls such as local exhaust ventilation, and providing material handling devices.
  • work practice controls such as using wet-cutting techniques and proper material storage.
  • administrative controls such as minimizing the number of workers exposed to the hazard, and having a Joint Health and Safety Committee in place when required.
  • Providing proper PPE Such as fitted respirators, the proper cartridges and filters, gloves, and harnesses.


For more information on this initiative and other upcoming initiatives in 2020 click here.

For a list of available online training related to reducing musculoskeletal strain click
here and here

For a list of available Respiratory PPE click
here, and for Respiratory Mask Fit Testing click here.

Published: November 12, 2019
Last Modified: December 4, 2019