While the number of field visits conducted by Ontario Ministry of Labour inspectors continued to decline in 2014/15, the number of convictions increased slightly, the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s “Occupational Health & Safety in Ontario 2014-15 Annual Report” shows.
An MOL inspector conducts a “field visit” when he or she visits a workplace and meets with the workplace parties in order to enforce the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
There were a total of 70,604 field visits by MOL inspectors in 2014/15, down from 73,204 in 2013/14 – and down 30% from the 101,275 field visits recorded for 2007/08, which appears to have been the highest number ever.
There were 817 convictions in 2014/15 for offences under the Ontario OHSA, up slightly from 780 in 2013/14. Convictions result from successful prosecutions by the MOL – either after a trial or a guilty plea. As we discussed in a previous blog post, the number of convictions has been declining in recent years and reached a six-year low in 2013/14. We will need to wait to see whether the uptick is part of a new trend towards more convictions.
The number of “critical injuries” reported to the MOL in 2014 was 1,095, which is down slightly from the previous year, but has not declined significantly in the last few years. There were 81 “traumatic fatalities” in 2014, down from 102 in 2013, but close to the ten-year average of 88.
The total amount of fines for OHSA convictions increased slightly in 2014/15. The average fine per conviction in 2014/15 was $11,463.73, which is actually slightly down from $11,932.00 in 2013/14. The average fine has held relatively steady over the past few years.