Labour - Workplace, Safety & Health

Enforcement Strategies

Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) conducts targeted enforcement activities of workplaces and industries throughout the province in order to ensure high risk hazards are effectively managed. 

WSH enforcement strategies are intended to be responsive to the work environment in Manitoba, and may change as is required to ensure compliance and maximum effectiveness. WSH’s enforcement strategies reflect the following priority areas of focus:

    • workplaces that demonstrate repeated or willful non-compliance to high hazard contraventions
    • high risk workplaces, with emphasis on those with high or increasing injury and illness rates, and those that employ vulnerable workers
    • workplaces that fail to notify WSH of serious incidents
    • workplaces associated with high risk hazardous substances or health hazards

WSH spends more time in workplaces that do not have appropriate systems or a strong safety and health culture in place, as both are essential in keeping workers safe on the job. When employers and workers collaborate to improve safety and health in the workplace, everyone benefits.  

During inspections, Safety and Health Officers interact with supervisors and workers to ensure appropriate training and supervision is in place. Supervisors play a key role in the day-to-day safety aspect of their workplaces, as they are responsible for ensuring workers under their supervision are properly trained, have all required equipment, and are carrying out their duties in accordance with Manitoba’s safety laws.

Proactive Enforcement Strategies

Failure to Report Serious Incidents:

WSH is collaborating with the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB) to identify workplaces that have failed to report incidents. An investigation may be undertaken where an employer has failed to meet notification requirements, and orders or administrative penalties may be issued. Depending on the circumstances, Manitoba Justice may be consulted.

High Risk Industries:

Enhanced data sharing with WCB has allowed WSH to identify and focus on the following high priority industry classifications. While all sectors were assessed, the following industry classifications have a significantly higher number of injuries requiring time away from work for every 100 workers than the provincial average. Inspections will be carried out to ensure appropriate systems and controls are in place to adequately manage priority hazards:

  • Recycling
  • Rough Cut Wood
  • Beams Trusses
  • Beds Bedding and Foam
  • General Labour Supply 
  • Window Cleaning
  • Transportation
  • Sawmills
  • Auto Parts Manufacturing
  • Foundries
  • Scrap Metal and Salvage
  • Install Metal Products
  • Tower and Energy Construction
  • Drywall Stucco
  • Landscaping
  • Roofing
  • Wrecking Moving Buildings
  • Concrete Work
  • Stone and Marble Manufacturing
  • Excavations
  • Metal Working Plants
  • Paint Plating Engraving
High Risk Workplaces:

Workplaces with a history of high hazard compliance issues are considered high-risk. WSH is also collaborating with WCB to identify workplaces across all sectors that have injury frequency and severity rates substantially different from their industry peers.

Vulnerable Workers:

WSH is collaborating with other agencies to identify workplaces where vulnerable works may be present, including agriculture, seasonal or temporary work, and workplaces with workers who are young, work in isolated situations or are otherwise vulnerable to the hazards in the workplace.

Mines, Pits & Quarries:

Inspections are conducted within mines and mining claims including underground mines, pits and quarries on a regular basis, using data such as reportable incidents, tips and injury and illness statistics to target areas of increased risk. Inspections will be focusing on mobile equipment, explosives, ground conditions, electrical equipment, shafts, hoists and cranes, which were the most common causes of incidents.

Other Priority Sectors:

Enforcement initiatives are undertaken in other workplace industry classifications where injury and illness data may be incomplete or not available. WSH uses available from other sources such employers, Industry Based Safety Associations and other relative key stakeholders and associations to strategically prioritize inspections in these industry classifications.

  • Schools and School Divisions
  • Public Administration
  • Agriculture
  • Healthcare
Health Hazards:

Exposure to some high risk, hazardous substances continues to be a concern, and WSH will inspect workplaces where the following high risk substances are believed to be used or present: Ammonia, Benzene, Hydrogen Sulfide, Isocyanate, Lead, Silica, Welding Fumes and Wood Dust.

Asbestos has proven to have long term adverse health effects and is one of the leading causes of occupational disease fatalities accepted by the WCB. In order to address the high level of risk associated with asbestos, any work that may release asbestos into the air is required to be reported to WSH. In collaboration with the City of Winnipeg and other municipal governments, WSH will identify and inspect sites that may release asbestos-containing material into the atmosphere. WSH is focusing on ensuring inventories for asbestos-containing materials, as well as appropriate training and procedures are in place.

Musculoskeletal Injury (MSI) is one of the most frequent injury types in all industries. A MSI is an injury of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves, blood vessels or related soft tissue, including sprains, strains and inflammation. WSH is focusing on workplaces that have high or increasing numbers  MSI injuries, looking for injury assessments, control measures, education and training.

Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is one of the most frequent injuries in workplaces and is associated with higher noise levels. WSH is focusing on workplaces where workers have had hearing shifts to ensure comprehensive hearing conservation programs are in place. Hearing conservation programs are an important part of addressing NIHL by identifying shifts in workers’ hearing to trigger early intervention efforts and initiate review of noise control measures in the workplace.

Random Inspections:

Although the majority of proactive enforcement is conducted within one of the targeted strategies above, WSH maintains a proactive presence in all sectors in order to identify contraventions and ensure compliance with high-risk provisions.