Health & Safety

Old Health & Safety Content

Low-Cost, High-Return:
Health and Safety Strategies for Auto Body Repair Shops

Paints, fillers, solvents, dust from sanding, metal fumes, repetitive movements and awkward postures-all familiar hazards within the auto body repair industry.

What distinguishes you from your competition is that you're invested in protecting your workers, contractors and clients, at the same time as you improve productivity and reduce costs. It's not a zero-sum game, as you already know, or you wouldn't be here looking for information.

You've come to the right place. Here's what you need to know.

Ministry of Labour applies new criteria for blitzing workplaces read more

Health and Safety Training from OSSA

The Ontario Service Safety Alliance (OSSA) is the designated safe workplace association for Ontario's auto body repair industry. CIIA has partnered with OSSA to provide members with valuable health & safety training resources to help them protect employees from illness and injury at the workplace. OSSA can help you define your training requirements and the best ways to meet them. Many of our programs are available in a variety of formats flexible to your workplace needs including self-paced, video or DVD based, online and classroom. Call our client services line at 1-888-478-6772 for advice and assistance. Some of the classroom training you might be interested in:

Certification Training Part 1: A three-day, classroom based training session, focused on getting your Joint Health & Safety Committee up to speed and WSIB-certified. Click here for more information

Certification Training Part 2: A one-day, classroom based training session, focused on four of the most common hazards in service sector workplaces. Click here to know more

WHMIS: A Canada-wide regulation that affects all businesses (no matter how small), and is a critical component of your workplace-specific training program for staff. Click here for information on OSSA's WHMIS Digital product

Risk Assessment, Hazard and Compliance Workshops: These complimentary workshops are designed to help Ontario businesses effectively assess their risks, understand system requirements and build a comprehensive approach to health and safety in the workplace. Click here for the schedule of workshops

Click here to view OSSA's upcoming training course dates in your area.

Got young workers?
Expect a visit from the MOL

The Ministry of Labour launches its 'New and Young Worker Blitz'

Like most service sector businesses, the onset of summer means the hiring of new workers at your establishment. Some of these new workers might be temporary while others continue to work beyond the season. Whatever the tenure, if most of your new workers are also young workers then you'd do well to know what might be coming by way of Ministry of Labour (MOL) enforcement.

What the blitz is all about

The MOL will very soon be implementing a program it calls 'New and Young Worker Blitz'. The program that will commence as early as June 2008 has identified the service sector as one of the major priority areas because of the large numbers of young workers employed by the sector.

MOL Inspectors will visit establishments known to employ young workers over the next month and will focus on ensuring that Health and Safety Representatives or Joint Health and Safety Committees are not only in place but also functioning effectively. Potential hazard areas like ergonomics, material handling, machinery, electrical contact, slips and falls, working along, violence and other workplace-specific hazards would be under special scrutiny.

Why is the MOL focusing on young workers?

Statistics on young workers released by the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board are quite stark - young workers are 24% more likely to be injured on the job than other groups, particularly during the first few days of employment.

Young workers are a priority for the MOL because they -

  • are often unable to recognize hazards
  • tend not to ask questions for fear of being considered "stupid"
  • are easier to train and eager to work
  • may not know about their workplace rights and responsibilities

Prepare. Act.

MOL inspectors made 24,356 field visits and issued 47,287 orders to service sector firms from April 2006 to March 2007. Your firm could very well be one of those that will be approached this year. Be aware that as an employer or supervisor it is your legal responsibility to ensure that your workers perform their duties in accordance with the provisions of the Occupational Health & Safety Act. Failure to do so could subject you to a fine or even a jail term both of which are entirely avoidable and definitely preventable.

Here's where you will be able to find more information on keeping young workers safe at your workplace. . As a service sector enterprise, you are a member of the Ontario Service Safety Alliance (OSSA), your designated health & safety association. Visit their web site or call them at 1-800-478-6772 to find out how they can help you prepare for a possible MOL visit and protect your young workers.

Article provided courtesy of the Ontario Service Safety Alliance.


Ontario Service Safety Alliance and new car dealers involved

December 12, 2007

Earlier this week the Regional Construction Safety Group, comprised of members from Hamilton-Halton, Toronto and Grand Valley Associations received $837,707 in Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) rebates.

Now a similar program has been announced for automotive shop owners in Ontario to provide opportunities to work together towards improving their collective health and safety.

The reward for this commitment is the potential for premium rebates for all members of the group and a reduction in injury frequency.

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) endorses the Safety Group Program and the Ontario Service Safety Alliance (OSSA) is the Safety Group Sponsor

Safety group members received rebate cheques of an average of 3.2% of their annual WSIB premiums in 2006. Typically, firms see a reduction of greater that 20% in their injury frequency. Safety Group members attend at least 3 of 5 one-day meetings per year, facilitated by OSSA.

Membership fee registration is required. Contact John Aird at OSSA at 905 614 3001 or before January 11, 2008. For further information and a registration form visit .

Association members of or its affiliated collision repair associations already receive a 10% discount on OSSA products, as a membership benefit. Please see or call 1 866 309 4272 or for more information


Fifth Year Industry Efforts Have Reduced Shop Costs

Since 2003, efforts by trade associations and others have been positive with the continuing results of lowered WSIB premiums.

The new rate for vehicle service and repair shops for 2007 is $3.33 for every one hundred dollars of payroll. This rate is down 7 cents from last years' rate and down from $3.72 per $100 assessment in 2003.

"Lost time and critical injuries are down again in the sector but strains and sprains continue to be a problem", sys Tony Nigro, President of the Hamilton district Autobody Repair Association (HARA).

HARA is a member of the Vehicle Sales and Service Committee for the Ontario Service Safety Association (OSSA), long a leader in health and safety workplace programs.

"More shop employees than ever before are taking our WHMIS classes both in their shops and in the classroom", says Tony. HARA now offers WHMIS training every third Wednesday at their training facility to meet demand for walk-in students.

"We have also arranged a discount for OSSA health and safety training materials and supplies for members to help them meet their safety obligations."

With increasing enforcement activity by the Ministry of Labour, including a recent jailing of a shop owner for refusing Ministry inspectors entrance, the association is urging shops to call them at 1 866 309 4272 if they are faced with compliance orders or a requirement for health and safety changes in their workplace.

For more information on health and safety issues including hoist training, please see:

Appeal On Assessment For Vehicle Sales And Service Shops At WSIB Fails

Decision No. 1373/05

Panel: E. Smith (Vice-Chair), S├ęguin, Lebert

Decision - September 20, 2005

Neutral Citation: 2005 ONWSIAT 2079

Class of employer (automobile service) - Class of employer (dual rates) - Class of employer (retail operation) (integrated).

Employer was retail store that sold computers, televisions, stereos and other household items - Employer started new business activity of installing car stereos - Integrated operations rule in Board policy considered business activity of retail store to be integrated unit - Employer came within exception to integrated operations rule for business activity such as installation, which is considered a distinct business activity when carried out in conjunction with a retail operation.

The employer sold computers, televisions, stereos and some other household items. This business activity was classified in Rate Group 644 for household furniture, appliances, televisions and stereo stores. Beginning in 2000, it also had a business activity of installing car stereos. The Board classified this activity in Rate Group 630 for other vehicle repair shops. The employer appealed, claiming that the activity of car stereo installation should be classified on an integrated basis with the primary business activity of the retail store. The appeal was dismissed.

From January 2000 to May 2001, the best fit for the car stereo installation was in Rate Group 630. The rate group description or even the scope of the rate group should not be read to limit the rate group to retailers with garages carrying out auto repairs. It is common practice for the Board to give additional specificity to its intent in the body of the description, and may often specifically include or exclude functions that might not otherwise be covered.

Rate Group 630 was amended in May 2001, to state that the Board considered the business activity of a Class F retail store to be an integrated unit regardless of whether it includes an activity which might be considered a distinct business activity if carried out as a business in its own right. However, there is an exception for a business activity, such as installing, which is considered a distinct business activity when carried out in conjunction with a retail operation. The employer came within the exception to the integrated operations rule. Accordingly, the employer was also correctly classified in Rate Group 630 after May 2001.

How your shop can save $500

Just print the poster at the link below:

Post in the back of your shop and avoid the $500 fine levied by the Ontario Ministry of Labour


After a number of shops were served notices of non-compliance by the Ontario Ministry of Labour, and to meet the requirements of the proposed CISCO program, a new Health and Safety Training program has been introduced in response.

This Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) training program is mandatory for collision repair and auto refinish shops.

A Video, Student workbook, and Post test package was produced by the Ontario Service Safety Alliance and designed especially for Ontario's Auto Collision Repair and paint shops.

Featuring five video sections and matching workbooks, the video highlights all the areas needed to meet the legislative requirements for automotive repair shops.

This training package also includes:

  • A pocket-sized WHMIS Hazards symbols card for employees
  • A poster for the shop with the WHMIS symbols
  • A profile on how to set up a joint health and safety committee
  • An Isocyanate warning bulletin
  • How to easily set up a health and safety policy statement
  • How to conduct a health and safety inspection tour of a collision repair shop.
  • Guide for a paint shop Isocyanate control program
  • WHMIS Training and Information Checklist
  • Written emergency plan
  • Action planner

This 3.5 hour training course offered to any shop in Ontario can be completed in one evening, or afternoon. Please contact the office at 1-866-309-HARA or or under "Contact Us/Questions" to book your training.

More Information