Agricultural industries are a vital part of our economy in Ontario. They employ thousands of workers annually, both domestic and foreign temporary workers. In recent years, Ontario has received an influx of migrant workers, and we have seen rapid increases in the number of greenhouse establishments.

Along with the impressive growth this industry has experienced, there is also great potential for danger. Take a look at a few of the statistics:

  • 2-4 workers killed on the job annually
  • 450-500 miss work time due to serious injuries
  • Reported injuries include everything from strains and sprains to amputations

 

All workers in the province, regardless of their status as citizens or temporary workers, are protected by the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act. Employers are legally responsible for the safety and wellness of their employees.

 

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But what if an employer fails to take proper measures to protect his employees?

As much as the penalties for non-compliance appear severe, they don’t even begin to address the aftermath of a serious injury or fatality in the workplace. The time to start thinking about legal compliance and preventative measures is now. So what do you have in place now to protect yourself and your workers?

  • Corporations may be fined up to $1,500,000
  • Individuals may be fined up to $100,000

 

Due Diligence – What Does it Really Mean?

 

“Every employer shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker”.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act, Clause 25(2)(h)

 
But what does this really mean? It means that YOU, the employer, are responsible. In order to protect the health and safety of your workers and to protect yourself legally, you must ensure that you have the following items in place:

  • Health and Safety Program that satisfies the rules and principles of the Occupational Health and Safety Act
  • All workers must be trained on this program and must be educated about their responsibilities and rights under the Law
  • Workers must complete mandatory training programs outlined under the Act
  • You must identify actual and potential hazards specific to your workplace
  • You must develop Safe Work Procedures to address the identified hazards
  • ALL workers (domestic and foreign) must be trained on how to comply with written Safe Work Procedures
  • You must ensure that Safe Work Procedures are being followed and implement corrective measures in the case of non-compliance

 

Complete Safety Resources Inc., in cooperation with Compliance Safety Solutions, has developed a suite of health and safety training programs designed specifically for the open field, livestock, and greenhouse agricultural industries.

 
These programs are delivered on-site and in a variety of languages. They are designed for both foreign and domestic workers and meet the needs of both large and small employers. They are have been customized specifically for the agricultural sector and its various elements.

 

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Migrant Workers and WSIB

Did you know that most foreign workers are protected by WSIB? While traveling in Ontario, migrant workers are insured when:

  • In transit from an airport in Ontario to your location
  • Using a bus or car with your authorization
  • Coming to and from your locations by a direct and uninterrupted route

In addition, they are also covered during:

  • Time off, meal time, and while on the premises
  • While sleeping in the location provided by you

 

Safe Work Procedures

We can help you develop the Safe Work Procedures that are the backbone of your health and safety program. With over 50 years of combined experience in the health and safety field, you can be confident in our ability to develop a robust and diligent health and safety program that works for you.

We can also help develop and deliver any on-site training that you require, such as:

  • WHMIS/GHS
  • Lift truck
  • Skid Steer
  • Front-end loader
  • Mandatory worker awareness training
  • Chainsaw Training
  • Confined Space Entry
  • Much more

 

What about a Joint Health and Safety Committee?

You need to set up a Joint Health and Safety Committee if there are 20 or more regularly-employed workers with duties related to the following operations:

  • Mushroom farming
  • Greenhouse farming
  • Dairy farming
  • Hog farming
  • Cattle farming
  • Poultry farming

In addition, if you have more than 50 workers in any of these above operations, your health and safety committee must also include at least two certified members who have been trained in Part 1 and Part 2 JHSC certification training.

 

Lost in Translation

One of the challenges of training a migrant workforce in health and safety may be the existence of a language barrier. After all, training is only valuable if it is easily understood, and if it motivates learners to apply what they are being taught. The majority of our training programs and their related documentation can be provided on-site, in both English and Spanish!

Don’t put off for tomorrow what you need to do today! We recognize that the needs of each business are unique, so call or email us now to set up your free initial consultation.

 

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