Labour & Regulatory Services - 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.

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 significantly higher than average number of overall injuries per 100 workers. Inspections will be carried out to ensure appropriate systems and controls are in place to adequately manage priority hazards:

  • Foundries
  • Beam and truss manufacturing
  • Recycling facilities
  • Scrap metal and salvage
  • Rough cut wood manufacturing
  • Soft drink manufacturing
  • Metal working plants
  • Door and window manufacturing
  • Stone and marble manufacturing
  • Roofing and shingling installation
  • Window and door installation
  • Concrete work
  • Sewer and water construction
  • Landscaping
  • Wrecking and moving buildings
  • General labour supply
  • Sawmills and planing
  • Vehicles manufacturing
  • Stock yards
  • Beds, bedding, foam and rubber
  • Fiberglass and extruded plastics
  • Cleaning and Laundries
  • Plating, engraving, coatings and paint
  • Auto parts manufacturing
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.

Health Hazards:
  • Exposure to some chemicals 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, Dichloromethane, Hydrogen Sulfide, Isocyanate, Silica 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.
  • COVID-19 - WSH is focusing on sectors at increased risk of COVID-19 transmission, including manufacturing, meat processing, healthcare, textiles & clothing, agriculture and other essential work. Officers will ensure employers have assessed high risk tasks and workers and implemented reasonable control measures to reduce risk to workers. Control measures may include health screening, enhanced sanitation and hygiene practices, the use of social distancing, barriers and protective equipment, sick leave protocols, and worker training.
  • MSI (musculoskeletal injury) -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 MSI injuries, looking for injury assessments, control measures, education and training.
  • Hearing Conservation Program –Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is one of the most frequent injuries in workplaces that have 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, triggering early intervention efforts and initiating review of noise control measures in the workplace.

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