The Ontario Ministry of Labour is in the middle of a safety blitz targeting construction projects across the province. Since January 1st, inspectors have been visiting a range of workplaces undergoing major renovations, repairs and additions.
Whether your workplace is on the list of sites slated for inspection or not, your company should be making sure it is taking the appropriate steps to keep your workers safe.
If airborne substances, hazardous materials, or extreme noise levels are present on your worksite, the following should be done to ensure your workers are properly protected:
- Workers should be educated and trained on the effects of exposure to hazardous substances and ways to mitigate those effects;
- Post warning signs about exposures around the worksite and the importance of wearing protective equipment;
- For noise exposure, your employees’ ears should be examined to ensure they can wear an ear plug or ear muff. Custom molded ear plugs may be required, depending on the worker;
- For exposure to airborne substances, ensure proper fit of protective equipment. Quantitative and qualitative respirator fit testing can determine if the mask your worker is wearing is effectively keeping airborne substances out;
- Ensure all protective equipment is being used properly by your workers and that the equipment is properly maintained;
- Ensure you have emergency contingency plans in place and that workers and others at the site are aware of the protocols and procedures;
- Find ways to direct airborne substances away from your workers, such as ventilation. Also, use barrier or enclosure systems to restrict access and contain the work area; and
- Implement a medical surveillance program that includes baseline and periodic audiometric and/or pulmonary function testing (depending on the exposure) so you can determine the effectiveness of the controls you have in place.
Were these tips helpful? Let us know. You can also get in touch with us if you have any questions about how to minimize the impact of hazardous substances on your workers.