Ontario Upgrading its Confined Space Safety Regulations

The government of Ontario has taken measures it believes will improve confined space safety in the province, including strengthening its confined space safety standards and expanding the number of workers and workplaces covered by specific confined space requirements.

"The health and safety of Ontario workers is our No. 1 priority," Minister of Labor Steve Peters said. "That's why we are advancing workplace safety, especially for workers who enter or work around confined spaces, such as vats, pits and holding tanks."

Currently, there are confined space requirements in four sector regulations under Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act industrial, construction, mining and health care. However, some sectors and workplaces with confined spaces have not been covered by any of these four sector regulations, including transportation and municipal maintenance workers.

With the changes the Ministry of Labor plans to make, the original four sector regulations will be updated and many workers not previously covered by a sector regulation such as transportation and municipal maintenance workers will be covered by a new confined spaces regulation, according to the agency.

The changes will take effect Sept. 30.

A "confined space," according to the Ministry of Labor, is an enclosed space that is not designed for continuous human occupancy and can have a buildup of gases or dust, or lack of oxygen that can put workers at risk of injury or even death.

"Work in confined spaces is inherently dangerous without proper training, planning and procedures," said John Milloy, MPP (member of provincial parliament) for Kitchener Centre. "These enhancements are just some of the ways the Ontario government is ensuring that the health and safety of Ontario workers is not compromised."

For more information on the new regulation, visit the Ministry of Labor Web site.

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