From October 2, 2017 to November 30, 2017, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour (“MOL”) will be conducting workplace inspection blitzes in mines and mining plants.

In recognition of the fact that October is Global Ergonomics Month, these blitzes will focus on workplace measures relating to musculoskeletal disorders (“MSDs”). However, inspectors will also be assessing the risk of slips, trips and/or falls in the workplace.

MSDs are injuries to one’s muscles, tendons, nerves or spinal discs that result from repetitive work, forceful exertions and prolonged periods of awkward or sustained posture. They are the most common cause of lost time at work in the mining sector.

As part of the blitzes, MOL inspectors will be:

  • Examining MSD hazards arising from manual material handling tasks and use of equipment that causes hand-arm vibration;
  • Checking that employers have completed risk assessments in respect of MSD hazards;
  • Reviewing joint health and safety committee minutes to see if MSD hazards have been addressed;
  • Ensuring that workers have been given adequate information regarding workplace MSD hazards;
  • Looking at workplace measures aimed at preventing slips, trips and falls.

In anticipation of the blitzes, mining industry employers should make sure that they have taken the steps outlined above. In addition, employers should review their accident experience in relation to MSDs and ensure that measures have been implemented to minimize MSD hazards in the workplace.

For more information, please refer to the following resources:

2017 – 2018 Mining Sector Inspection Blitzes

MOL Musculoskeletal Disorders Resource

Preventing Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) in Mines

Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls in the Workplace

Written in collaboration with Samuel Keen, articling student.

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