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Ontario to strengthen protection of workers dealing with hazardous substances

Toronto, ON -- Ontario plans to enhance workplace health and safety by updating occupational exposure limits (OELs)...


Toronto, ON — Ontario plans to enhance workplace health and safety by updating occupational exposure limits (OELs) for 18 hazardous workplace substances, provincial labour minister Chris Bentley has announced.

“Last year our government introduced an annual process for updating OELs to ensure Ontario workers are protected by the most up-to-date standards when working with hazardous substances,” he said. “As a result of the new process, revisions were made to 79 substances.” On May 6, the government launched its 2005 updating process.

Bentley made the announcement during North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week, May 2 to 6 — a week organized across North America to raise awareness of workplace health and safety issues.

The 60-day consultation invites stakeholders to comment on proposed new and revised limits and listings for 18 hazardous chemical substances. This includes proposed limits for four substances for which a limit does not currently exist in Ontario.

Occupational exposure limits restrict a worker’s exposure to hazardous substances on the job. Ontario currently has OELs for over 700 substances.

New or revised limits are proposed for a number of substances, including ethylene, hydrogen fluoride and wood dust.

To participate in the consultation, download a copy of the proposal from the Ontario Ministry of Labour website and submit comments to the ministry at the address provided in the proposal. Copies of the proposal are also available by calling 416-326-9299. The submission deadline is July 4, 2005.

“Without compromising workplace health and safety, the Ontario government wants to consult with all stakeholders, including business and labour, before introducing new exposure limits,” said Bentley.