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The Construction Sector: FAQs: Health and Safety

  • Content last reviewed: June 2009

What is a "constructor"?

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, a "constructor" is a party (a person or company) who oversees the construction of a project and who is ultimately responsible for the health and safety of all workers. The constructor must ensure that all the employers and workers on the project comply with the Act and regulations.

the Act defines a constructor as a person who undertakes a construction project for an owner. In some cases, the owner of the project is the constructor as well. When an owner undertakes all or part of project, either by himself or herself, or by contracting work out to more than one contractor or employer, the owner becomes the constructor.

If the owner hires only one contractor to do all the work, then that contractor may be the constructor, depending on the contractual arrangements with the owner. The contractor may, in turn, subcontract work to other people, but he or she remains the constructor for the project, as long as he or she is the only party the owner had contracted to do the work.


What are the legal duties of a constructor?

A constructor is to ensure that:

  • the measures and procedures prescribed by the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the regulations for construction projects are carried out on the project;
  • every employer and every worker on the project complies with this act and the Regulations for Construction Projects;
  • the health and safety of workers on the project is protected;
  • a health and safety representative or a Joint Health and Safety Committee is selected as prescribed;
  • the Ministry of Labour is notified of a project as prescribed;
  • the Ministry of Labour is notified of an accident or occurrence as prescribed; and
  • every contractor or subcontractor receives a list of all designated substances present at the project before the prospective contractor or subcontractor enters into a binding contract for the supply of work on the project.

This means a constructor has overall responsibility for worker health and safety on a project.

Sections 25 and 26 of the Act also apply to constructors as employers.


What is the relationship of the constructor to the other parties on a project?

The constructor has overall responsibility on a project for compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the health and safety regulations on construction projects. The constructor can also have duties as employer under the Act.

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