Big box safety blitz coming to this area Feb. 25 to 28

Smaller retailers, restaurants, essential services such as gas stations and farming operations could also be inspected

WELLINGTON COUNTY – A big box safety inspection blitz is scheduled for Feb. 25 to 28, in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph.

The campaign targets stores like Costco, Walmart and major grocers.

But government inspections will not be limited to just large corporations; they will include workplaces that present heightened risk factors for potential transmission of COVID-19 based upon information from local public health units and bylaw departments, and findings from past COVID-19 safety campaigns.

Officers will be visiting a variety of workplaces such as:

  • retail establishments, including big-box stores;
  • restaurants providing take-out meals;
  • essential service-sector establishments (such as gas stations); and
  • farming operations.

The new series of workplace inspection campaigns builds on the work done in late 2020, with the focus shifting to enforcement rather than education, officials say.

These campaigns will continue to be conducted by teams of provincial offences officers from multiple ministries, not just Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development’s (MLTSD) inspectors.

These campaigns build on the “Stay Safe All Day” campaign, announced in January, led by Occupational Health and Safety inspectors.

Inspections focus on how to stay safe before, during and after work. Officers will be promoting and enforcing COVID-19 safety requirements during breaks, in lunch rooms and in work vehicles.

The campaign targets workplaces with heightened risks that have been identified by using data from local public health units and information reported directly to the province.

Inspectors will focus on workplaces in the following sectors:

  • those with reported COVID-19 outbreaks;
  • manufacturing;
  • warehousing;
  • distribution centres;
  • food processing; and
  • publicly accessible workplaces deemed essential, such as grocery stores.

MLTSD has conducted over 38,000 COVID-19 related workplace field visits, with more than 39,000 orders issued on those visits, stopping unsafe work more than 60 times.

The ministry has also hired an additional 100 health and safety inspectors to build the largest workplace safety inspectorate in Ontario’s history, and doubling the phone lines at the Health & Safety Contact Centre.