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Blitz Results: Struck By Hazards 2015

Safe At Work Ontario
  • Issued: October 28, 2015
  • Content last reviewed: October 2015

Workers continue to be at risk when working near construction traffic. One of the biggest dangers is of a worker being struck. Such incidents can result in serious injuries or even death.

In May and June 2015, Ministry of Labour inspectors conducted a blitz at construction sites across Ontario. The inspectors focused on the hazards of working around vehicles and large pieces of mobile equipment.

Inspectors checked that employers were taking appropriate and effective action to assess and address these hazards and protect workers’ safety. This included checking that employers were complying with the:

The goals of the blitz were to:

  • raise awareness of key health and safety hazards involving interaction of equipment and workers on foot at construction sites
  • increase workplace compliance with the law and
  • prevent injuries that could arise from unsafe work practices

Report summary

In 2014, six workers were killed by moving vehicles or equipment, two workers of whom were signallers who were killed by vehicles they were directing.

During May and June, 2015, ministry inspectors conducted 1,494 field visits to 1,313 workplaces and issued 3,056 orders under the OHSA, including 261 stop work orders. Some of the workplaces were visited more than once.

Of the orders:

  • 79 per cent (2,403 orders) were issued under Construction Regulations
  • 20 per cent (622 orders) were issued under the OHSA
  • 1 per cent (31 orders) were issued under other regulatory requirements

The three most frequently issued orders under Construction Regulations involved a failure of employers to:

  • ensure workers were protected from falls
  • ensure workers used personal protective equipment (PPE) when required
  • provide traffic control and planning, and organize vehicle and equipment operation at the construction project

Full report

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 workplace hazards and are intended to 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 to health and safety associations for compliance assistance and health and safety-related training.

Blitz focus

Inspectors visited construction projects where workers were exposed to vehicle and construction equipment traffic.

In particular, inspectors targeted construction sites:

  • valued at more than $50,000 in material and labour
  • identified as being high-priority due to potential hazards involving vehicle traffic and large mobile equipment
  • where complaints had been received
  • where there is a poor compliance history

Inspectors focused on the following key priorities:

Project planning / organization: Inspectors checked that workplace parties had planned and organized the construction site to avoid or reduce vehicles and equipment from being operated in reverse.

Proper movement of material and equipment: Inspectors checked that measures and procedures were in place for the safe movement of material and equipment on construction projects.

Signallers and equipment operators: Inspectors checked that employers were ensuring signallers and equipment operators were competent. Inspectors also checked that signallers did not perform any other work when directing traffic.

High visibility clothing: Inspectors checked that high visibility clothing was being worn by signallers and workers who were working in the vicinity of construction traffic.

Dump trucks alarms: Inspectors checked that dump trucks were equipped with automatic audible alarms when operated in reverse.

Inspection activity summary

Table 1: Field visits conducted at construction projects
Program Activities Number
Field visits 1,494
Number of workplaces visited 1,313
Orders issued 3,056
Stop work orders 261 [1]
Requirements 63 [2]
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 2.33
Orders and requirements per visit 2.05

[1][2] Requirements and stop work orders were part of the total orders issued

Order analysis

The blitz focused on hazards that could result in workers being struck by vehicles and equipment at construction projects. However, the most frequent orders issued by inspectors were for employers’ failure to address fall protection hazards and failure to ensure workers wore appropriate PPE. The third highest number of orders were for employers’ failing to have traffic control measures and procedures in place or failing to plan and organize vehicle and equipment operation at the project.

Of the 3,056 total orders issued during the blitz:

Table 2: The most commonly issued orders during the blitz
Reason for Order Number of Orders Percentage of 3056 Orders
Fall protection 348 11.38%
Personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements 309 10.11%
Struck-by vehicle or equipment hazards 171 5.59%
Lack of emergency procedures 132 4.31%

Analysis

During the blitz, inspectors issued 261 stop work orders under OHSA. Most of these orders involved fall protection violations. Although this was not a primary focus of this blitz, the results indicate fall hazards continue to be a key concern at construction projects and that all workplace parties need to improve workplace safety and their understanding of their OHSA duties and responsibilities.

Employers, supervisors and workers must ensure appropriate PPE is maintained and worn, as required, to help protect workers from injury. The continued high percentage of PPE violations indicates supervisors must do more to ensure workers wear PPE and work safely.

Constructors and employers must ensure vehicle and equipment operation is planned and organized and that adequate traffic control measures and procedures are in place at projects.

Constructors must establish written procedures to be followed in case of an emergency and they must ensure these procedures are followed at a construction project.

Next steps

Ministry inspectors will continue to pay special attention to the areas of concern noted in the above analysis section. This includes hazards that could result in workers being struck by vehicles and equipment as well as hazards affecting work at heights and other safety issues.

Compliance help for employers

For more information on identifying, preventing and controlling these hazards, please contact Ministry of Labour safety partners.