Labour & Regulatory Services - Workplace, Safety & Health

Enforcement Strategies

Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) conducts targeted enforcement activities of workplaces and industries throughout the province in order to ensure high risk hazards are effectively managed. 

WSH enforcement strategies are intended to be responsive to the work environment in Manitoba, and may change as is required to ensure compliance and maximum effectiveness. All of WSH’s enforcement strategies reflect the following priority areas of focus:

    • workplaces that demonstrate repeated or willful non-compliance to high hazard contraventions
    • high risk workplaces, with emphasis on those with high or increasing injury and illness rates
    • workplaces that fail to notify WSH of serious incidents
    • workplaces that employ vulnerable workers
    • workplaces associated with high risk hazardous substances or health hazards

WSH spends more time in workplaces that do not have appropriate systems or a strong safety and health culture in place, as both are essential in keeping workers safe on the job. When employers and workers collaborate to improve safety and health in the workplace, everyone benefits.  

During inspections, Safety and Health Officers interact with supervisors and workers to ensure appropriate training and supervision is in place. Supervisors play a key role in the day-to-day safety aspect of their workplaces, as they are responsible for ensuring workers under their supervision are properly trained, have all required equipment, and are carrying out their duties in accordance with Manitoba’s safety laws.

Enforcement Strategies 

  • WSH is collaborating with the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB) to identify workplaces that have failed to report a serious incident to WSH. An investigation may be undertaken where an employer has failed to meet WSH notification requirements, and orders or administrative penalties may be issued. Depending on the circumstances, a recommendation for prosecution may be forwarded to Manitoba Justice.
  • Construction continues to report the highest all-injury rate and time-loss injury rate across Manitoba’s largest sectors. Inspections in the construction sector will focus on training, machinery, working at heights, excavations, musculoskeletal hazards and supervision.
  • The time-loss injury rate for wood manufacturing has slowly increased.  WSH will focus on wood dust exposure, personal protective equipment, training, material handling and guarding of machinery. WSH will also focus on table saws, power feed moulding and planer machines, band saws, sanding machines and conveyor feed type machines. 
  • Plastic manufacturing experienced an increase in the time-loss injury rate, and now leads manufacturing sub-sectors with the highest time-loss injury rate. WSH will focus on machine guarding and work processes, with specific emphasis on casting and mold forming equipment, as well as chemical use.
  • Vehicle manufacturing has the second highest time-loss injury rate among manufacturing sub-sectors.  WSH will focus on training, chemical use and machine guarding.
  • Although the time-loss injury rate for heavy metal manufacturing has declined over the years, the industry continued to have high injury rates. This sub-sector reported the highest all-injury rate of any industry and the third highest time-loss injury rate among manufacturing sub-sectors. WSH inspections will focus on musculoskeletal hazards, training, material handling and guarding of machinery. Targeted machines include brake presses and shears, lathes, roller machines, grinders, and mills. 
  • Agriculture experiences a high number of fatalities each year, and workers are often working alone. Inspections will focus on training, supervision, grain handling, power take-offs, farm implements and working with chemicals.
  • Mining involves high hazard activities and has the second highest all-injury rate for industries. WSH will focus on training, cranes and mine hoisting equipment, powered mobile equipment, and eliminating fire explosion hazards.
  • Oil and gas is a high hazard sector with known fatalities and injuries, inspections will focus on training, supervision and machine guarding.
  • Public administration employs a large number of workers in Manitoba and has experienced time-loss injury rates above the provincial average for the last 10 years. WSH inspections will focus on musculoskeletal hazards, training, working alone and working with powered mobile equipment.
  • Over-exposure to hazardous substances continues to be a concern, and WSH will inspect workplaces where the following high risk substances are believed to be used:
    • Dichloromethane
    • Benzene
    • Glutaraldehyde
    • Carbon tetrachloride
    • Lead
    • Cadmium
    • Toluene
    • Ethylene oxide
    • Formaldehyde
  • Asbestos has proven to have long term adverse health effects and is one of the leading causes of occupational disease fatalities accepted by the WCB.  In order to address the high level of risk associated with asbestos, any work that may release asbestos into the air is required to be reported to WSH. In collaboration with the City of Winnipeg and other municipal governments, WSH will identify and inspect sites that may release asbestos-containing material into the atmosphere. WSH is focusing on ensuring inventories for asbestos-containing materials, as well as appropriate training and procedures are in place.
  • Hearing conservation is a key issue for Manitobans, as hearing loss accounts for a high number of occupational health claims. WSH is focusing enforcement on workplaces at high risk for over-exposure to noise, as well as workplaces with abnormal shifts in workers’ hearing. 
  • Musculoskeletal injuries continue to make up the largest percentage of injury claims in Manitoba. WSH will focus on healthcare and public administration, as well as employers with high or increasing numbers of musculoskeletal injuries.
  • Vulnerable workers may be more reluctant to bring forward safety concerns to a supervisor or employer, and in some workplaces, language barriers may affect a worker’s ability to communicate and participate fully in safety and health training. WSH will inspect employers that hire young, new and migrant workers with special emphasis in manufacturing, agriculture, social services, and temporary agencies. Inspections may also take place during evening shifts, where supervision has been found to be lower.

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