Ontario’s Top 10 Safety Violations & How to Avoid Them

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On 1 Jan 2020, Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer, Training, and Skill Development issued its top 10 list of health and safety violations in order to inform local workplaces of any practices they have in place that may be in violation.

A safety violation occurs when one or more rules set in a workplace to protect workers from injuries or harassment are broken.

The Chief Prevention Officer based this list on the number of contraventions reported to the OHS – the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Ontario’s Top 10 Safety Violations:

an employee working at heights installing metal sheeting

The following is Ontario’s top 10 safety violations for workplaces:

Workplace Violence and Harassment

Workplace violence does not only cover acts of physical harm, but also the following:

  • Threatening behaviour – such as animated aggressive behaviour, destroying property or throwing objects.
  • Verbal or written threats – the expression of intent to inflict harm.
  • Verbal abuse – swearing, insults, or condescending language.
  • Physical abuse – hitting, shoving, pushing, or kicking.

Fall Protection

Fall protection refers to any type of planned system to prevent or minimize falls from heights such as guardrails, safety nets, and safety equipment such as harnesses and hard hats.

Lack of Personal Protective Equipment

Employers are responsible for providing employees with personal protective equipment (PPE) which prevents exposure to harmful substances, work environments, or processes such as tasks involving dangerous equipment, chemicals, and high or low temperatures.


When an administrative agency has taken a final action against an individual or an entity the individual is a part of, for violating a regulation set by the administration.

a roofer working on a house to install new roofing

Health and Safety Representative & Joint Health and Safety Committee

Consisting of labour and management representatives, the HSR and JHSC develop policies and procedures to improve health and safety in the workplace.

Improper Access & Egress

Access and egress refer to the means of entry and exit to a workplace or area. Falls from height caused by inadequate or unsafe access to places of work or unsafe working platforms and scaffolding.

Basic Occupational Health & Safety Awareness Training

Employers are responsible for employees receiving certified OHS training. If a company fails to train its staff in OHS, it is a direct violation of the OHS act and is punishable by fines and imprisonment with a criminal record.

Housekeeping & Work Surfaces

Improper housekeeping and work surfaces refer to the lack of maintenance in the workplace that can lead to injuries by:

  • Tripping over loose objects and floors, stairs, and platforms.
  • Being hit by falling objects.
  • Falling on greasy, wet, or dirty surfaces.
  • Bumping into projecting, poorly stacked items or misplaced material
  • Cutting, puncturing, or tearing of the skin of hands or any other body parts by sharp objects.

Lack of Equipment, Material & Protective Device Maintenance

Management is responsible for implementing a daily schedule for the maintenance inspection of safety equipment, material, and protective devices.

Lack of Machine/equipment Guarding

Machine/equipment guarding is provided to protect operators and employees in the workplace from hazards created when a machine or piece of equipment is being operated. The lack of machine/equipment guards can lead to serious injuries or even fatalities.

5 Effective Ways to Avoid Safety Violations

  1. Implement regular training to maintain OHS awareness.
  2. Prioritize health and safety policies.
  3. Communicate health and safety expectations and the consequences of violations to employees.
  4. Perform regular inspections
  5. Provide adequate problem-solving tools

Advanced Consulting & Training – Workplace Safety Auditsa safety consultant taking notes during a safety audit

Working with a safety consulting company for a workplace safety audit will help you become aware of any safety violations that exist at your workplace. Our safety audits will also allow you to address and reduce the risk of hazards.

Work towards a safe workplace for all and get in touch with Advanced Consulting & Training to book a safety audit.

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