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What the MOL is looking for: MSD blitz explained

During the Ministry of Labour's (MOL's) current inspection blitz on musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), inspectors will be looking closely at specific areas of work within the IHSA membership. Let's dig deeper into the ongoing effort and look at what inspectors will be watching for.

The blitz will focus on construction projects relating to the low-rise residential sector. When the MOL inspectors visit jobsites, they will perform their usual safety inspections and lay charges for any safety violation regardless of what type it is. However if the inspectors observe MSD-related hazards, they will lay charges according to the following sections of the Construction Regulation (Ontario Regulation 213/91):

  • 37(1) – This mainly applies to masonry workers, low-rise forming, and roofers. For example, if the inspectors observe any manual carrying of shingles on ladders, that could result in charges.
  • 70(1) – Carrying forms to a basement without proper ramps and cleats on planks will be considered an MSD-related hazard and a violation of this section.
  • 72(a) – Carrying materials across obstacles is considered an MSD hazard under this section. Workers and contractors will have to make sure walkways are clear if materials are being manually carried across the work site. Cleaning only at the end of the day will be considered an inappropriate work practice if walkways are not clear for material handling during the day. Carrying forms between homes without adequate access could also be considered a violation.
  • 93(1) – If mortar-mixing machines are placed too high (i.e., the handle above your shoulder height), or create conditions that result in awkward postures for workers, the inspector may lay charges under this section. Violations can also apply if the handle is too high and the worker has to stand on something to get access to the mixing machine.
  • 115 – If masons have to elevate themselves on something to reach above shoulder height, charges may be laid.

The MOL can also lay charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Section 25 (2) (a)-(h) outlines the duties of employers with regard to training and precautions.

Any one-time action that contravenes Regulation 213 will be considered a violation under the Act. MOL inspectors will expect workplaces to have some form of written MSD-prevention procedure in their company's health and safety policy and procedure.

Does your company have such a policy? Let IHSA help you learn more about MSDs and how to prevent them. Check out our MSD resource page to learn more about reducing MSD risks.

See related article: Ministry of Labour MSD blitz continues.

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