Ontario currently has occupational exposure limits (OELs) which limit a worker's exposure to hazardous substances on the job for more than 700 substances. Since the government initiated an annual review process in 2004, 104 OELs have been revised, updated or added.
"Protecting the health and safety of Ontario workers is a priority for our government," Ontario Labor Minister Steve Peters said. "Exposure to hazardous substances can cause occupational illness, which impacts individuals and families as well as businesses. That is why we are updating Ontario's exposure limits based on the most current information available."
The Ontario Ministry of Labor is undertaking a 60-day consultation to allow stakeholders to comment on proposed new and revised limits and listings for these 27 hazardous substances. This includes proposed limits for two substances for which a limit does not currently exist in Ontario: coumaphos and monochloroacetic acid. Revised limits and/or listings are proposed for 25 other substances, including silica and iron oxide.
To participate in the consultation, submit comments to the ministry at the address provided in the proposal. Copies of the proposal are on the Ministry of Labor Web site. The submission deadline is Sept. 30.
"The Ontario government wants to consult with all affected stakeholders, including business and labor, before introducing new exposure limits," Peters said.
Other workplace safety measures taken by the Ontario government include:
- The High-Risk initiative, targeting enforcement efforts at Ontario workplaces with the highest injury rates and highest costs in Workplace Safety and Insurance Board claims;
- The Pains and Strains initiative, targeting musculoskeletal injuries, which make up a significant portion of all workplace injuries; and
- Hiring 200 new health and safety inspectors. Of these, 131 are already working across Ontario. All 200 will be carrying out inspections of high-risk workplaces early next year.