As part of the Safe At Work Ontario strategy, the Ontario Ministry of Labour is increasing inspections of construction sites employing workers in the five most hazardous construction trades: high-rise formwork, low-rise formwork and masonry, siding and built-up roofing work. Inspections will check for health and safety hazards to help prevent workplace injuries, according to the ministry.
Workers in the five targeted trades are exposed to high-risk work and hazards that can result in death or severe, long-term injuries. They are at risk due to:
• unsafe use of equipment such as ladders, platforms and scaffolds
• slips, trips and falls (especially during concrete forming operations, siding, masonry and roofing work)
• inadequate education, training and supervision of workers (especially of new and young workers).
The lost-time injury (LTI) rate for these five trades ranges from almost double to four times higher than injury rates for the construction industry in general, the ministry said.The month-long blitz will be conducted throughout March and will focus on hazards that can lead to falls from heights, slips on debris-covered surfaces and other dangers. The inspection blitz also aims to: prevent injuries and illnesses that could arise from unsafe work practices; raise awareness of key health and safety hazards in each trade; and assist workplace parties in complying with the law.
Inspectors will continue to take a “zero tolerance” approach to any breach of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), its regulations and will focus on the following key priorities:
Equipment use — all work equipment should be used in a safe and proper manner. In particular, ladders, work platforms and scaffolds must be used in accordance with the Construction Regulation.
Fall protection — required fall protection systems must be used when working at heights and workers must be trained on the use of fall protection equipment and supervised when working at heights.
Slips, trips and falls — construction sites should be kept clear of debris and other conditions that could cause slips, trips and falls.