Calls for essential training for inspectors have been repeatedly ignored by the Ontario Ministry of Labour | National Union of Public and General Employees

Calls for essential training for inspectors have been repeatedly ignored by the Ontario Ministry of Labour

It is time to stop laying blame on inspectors when accidents happen and instead start questioning why the Ministry isn’t providing the training they know inspectors need.

logo of the Ontario Public Servce Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE)Timmins (08 April 2014) — The province’s labour inspectors, represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) are calling on the Ministry of Labour to begin taking action on a five-year-old report that would see inspectors given proper, updated training in order to keep Ontario workers safe on the job.

Province consults on health and safety practices in the mining and other industries

In Timmins on March 31, the Ontario Ministry of Labour initiated new public consultations on health and safety for the mining sector. At that meeting, industry insiders placed blame on Health and Safety Inspectors even though it is known that these inspectors lack experience and knowledge to do a proper safety inspection on a mining property.

Neil Martin, provincial representative for OPSEU’s 338 Industrial Health and Safety Inspectors, 20 of whom work in mine inspections, said that for years the union and the inspectors have continuously requested increased training and front-line experience with industry experts.

“Despite repeated studies that have identified the need for ongoing and current training for Occupational Health and Safety Inspectors in all sectors, the Ministry of Labour has failed to implement any training that will keep our Inspector members current,” Martin said.

Ontario government has not acted on recommendations from a 2009 report citing the need for ongoing training for Occupational Health and Safety Inspectors

In 2009, the Ministry of Labour produced a document outlining the ongoing training needs for Occupational Health and Safety Inspectors in the mining and other sectors. The Ministry has not implemented this training despite repeated requests from OPSEU/NUPGE.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said that it is time to stop laying blame on inspectors when accidents happen and instead start questioning why the Ministry isn’t providing the training they themselves know is needed.

“Every worker has the right to go to work and come home safely to their families,” Thomas said. “The Ministry of Labour must act immediately on training needs for inspectors before more unnecessary tragedies occur. Anything less than that is negligence on the Ministry’s part, and our inspectors should not have to shoulder the blame for it.”

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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