The condition and operation of tower cranes, mobile cranes and concrete pumping equipment continues to be a key concern in Ontario. A number of incidents involving cranes and concrete pumping equipment have resulted in death and serious injuries to workers in the past few years. Some of these incidents occurred when cranes overturned, contacted electrical conductors or when the cranes or the material being lifted struck or crushed workers when the load was dropped.
Between July 1 and August 31, 2012, Ministry of Labour inspectors conducted a blitz of hazards involving tower cranes, mobile cranes and concrete pumping equipment at Ontario construction sites. Inspectors checked on compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations.
The goal was to:
Between 2007 and 2011, one worker died and seven workers were seriously injured in tower and mobile crane incidents at construction sites across Ontario.
Since 2008, ministry inspectors have conducted more than 266,000 field visits, 40 inspection blitzes and issued more than 426,000 compliance orders in Ontario workplaces.
During this blitz, inspectors visited 527 construction projects and issued 1,481 orders, including 149 stop work orders. The total number of visits was 608 because some of the workplaces were visited several times.
Inspection blitzes are part of the province's Safe At Work Ontario compliance strategy. They are announced to the sector by the ministry in advance although individual workplaces are not notified in advance. Results are posted on the ministry's website. The blitzes raise awareness of known workplace hazards and promote compliance with the OHSA and its regulations.
Inspectors' findings may impact the frequency and level of future inspections of individual workplaces. Inspectors may also refer employers for compliance assistance and training to sector health and safety associations such as the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA).
During the blitz, inspectors focused on the following key priorities:
The inspectors visited the following types of workplaces:
Inspectors issued orders at a rate of 2.53 per workplace visit.
The following table provides an overview of the blitz results:
|Site visits by equipment type||Field Visits||Workplaces Visited|
|Concrete Pump Equipment||133||128|
|Orders (all types)||1,481|
|Stop work orders||149|
|Orders per visit||2.92|
|Stop-work orders per visit||0.25|
Orders were issued for various violations of the OHSA and the Regulations for Construction Projects.
Three construction sectors received 65 per cent (960 orders) of all orders issued during the blitz. They were:
Inspectors also issued orders for violations involving personal protective equipment:
|Reason for order||Number of orders||Percentage
of total orders issued
|Stop work order on equipment, machine or device||149||10%|
|Personal protective equipment (head protection, fall protection, footwear, eye protection)||148||9.99%|
|Constructors' duties under OHSA||107||7.22%|
|Equipment general maintenance||96||6.48%|
|Crane issues: outrigger use, rigging, equipment records||81||5.46%|
In general, the blitz results indicate hazards involving failure to use personal protective equipment continue to be a at concern on construction projects. Maintenance of vehicles, tools and equipment also represents a major health and safety concern. Crane-related issues (such as use of outriggers, rigging methods and equipment records) represent areas where continued vigilance is also required. There is a need for a better understanding of the regulatory requirements for constructors and employers on construction projects, such as ensuring that the necessary controls for occupational health and safety are developed and implemented at construction projects.
Constructors and employers should focus on raising workplace parties' awareness of key health and safety hazards involving traffic on construction sites and during road work projects and thereby promoting improved health and safety for workers on construction sites with traffic and road work projects.
The results confirm a continued need for crane safety awareness and enforcement activities in the construction sectors. As a result, the ministry will continue to focus on:
A health and safety culture requires all workplace parties to be vigilant and to give appropriate attention to workplace health and safety. In other words, the workplace must have a well- functioning internal responsibility system in which all workplace parties take responsibility for their own health and safety and that of their co-workers. A strong commitment by everyone in the workplace is needed to prevent injuries and illness and to reduce risk. Workplace parties are encouraged to work together to identify and control crane-related hazards found on construction projects.
For more information on identifying, preventing and controlling workplace hazards, please contact our safety partners.