The Occupational HeaIMG_6489lth and Safety Act (OHSA) and the Employment Standards Act (ESA) have been placed into effect in order to prevent workplace injury and illness and protect workers from exploitative or harmful practices on the part of their employers. The laws that support the ESA are designed to keep workers informed of their rights regarding compensation, record keeping, meal breaks, vacation periods, and fees charged to employees by their companies. OHSA laws require employers to attack the root causes of most workplace injuries and fatalities, and control these threats by implementing regular safety audits, training requirements, and workplace environmental standards.

In order to ensure these protections and keep employers on track and compliant with the law, the Ontario Ministry of Labour will be conducting yearly inspections throughout the province, and this year, the materials handling industry will experience an inspection blitz that will take place between September 15 and October 26 of 2014. Will your workplace be ready? Start preparing now by double checking the standards of both acts and conducting internal audits to make sure all requirements have been met.

ESA and OHSA Inspections

Employment standards officers will be reviewing materials-handling workplaces, including warehouses and distribution centers. These officers will be making sure employers have posted the ES poster and met all requirements regarding wage statements, unauthorized deductions, record keeping, and the management of overtime, vacations, break periods, and holidays.

In the event of a violation, employers will be issued tools that can help them with compliance, and they may face warnings in the form of “Part 1 Notices of Offense.” Employers will be ordered to pay overdue wages and compensation, and a follow-up inspection may be scheduled at a later date.

OHSA inspections may involve a review of injury and incident numbers as well as a workplace review and audit. The findings of each inspection will be reported soon after completion, and the ministry will track findings records from year to year to review changes in injury and incident rates.

For more information on how to prepare and how to update your procedures, facilities and operations in order to meet compliance standards, contact Liftow, the forklift and warehousing equipment experts.