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Prevent Injuries in Concrete Forming, Masonry, Siding and Built-up Roofing Trades

Safe At Work Ontario
  • Issued: February 2012
  • Content last reviewed: February 2012

Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help the workplace parties understand some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations. For further information please see full disclaimer.

The Ministry of Labour is increasing enforcement of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the Regulations for Construction Projects and promoting awareness of safety measures to improve the safety of high rise and low rise concrete forming, masonry, siding and built-up roofing (also known as “flat-roofing”) trades.

The lost-time injury (LTI) rate[ 1 ] for these five trades ranges from almost double to four times higher than average injury rates for the construction industry in general. This is based on an analysis of 10 years of Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) data by the Ministry and Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA).

General duties of workplace parties under the OHSA

Employers

Employers and supervisors must ensure compliance with the provisions of the OHSA and its regulations.

Key requirements for employers include:

  • instruct, inform and supervise workers to protect their health and safety [Section 25(2)(a)]
  • appoint competent persons as supervisors [Section 25(2)(c)]
  • take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker [Section 25(2)(h)]
  • prepare and review at least annually a written occupational health and safety policy, and develop and maintain a program to implement that policy if the workplace has six or more full-time employees [Section 25(2)(j)]
  • post a copy of the occupational health and safety policy in the workplace, where workers will be most likely to see it [Section 25(2)(k)]

Supervisors

The OHSA also sets out specific duties for workplace supervisors. A supervisor must:

  • ensure workers work in compliance with protective devices, measures and procedures required by the act and regulations [Section 27(1)(a)]
  • ensure workers use or wear any equipment, protective device or clothing required by the employer [Section 27(1)(b)]
  • advise workers of any potential or actual health or safety dangers known by the supervisor [Section 27(2)(a)]
  • if required, provide workers with written instructions on the measures and procedures to be taken for the workers’ protection [Section 27(2)(b)]
  • take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of workers [Section 27(2)(c)]

Health and safety considerations

Employers and supervisors should consider the following to ensure a healthy and safe workplace:

  • Have work-related hazards been identified and specific measures taken to mitigate any risk of injury to workers? Ensure that adequate safety and emergency planning for the scope of work is done before starting the work.
  • Have workers been adequately informed and instructed? Ensure that workers are instructed about the safety and emergency planning for the work.
  • Will any work be performed from ladders, scaffolds, and work platforms? See the Provincial Labour Management Health and Safety Committee (PLMHSC) Guideline on Ladder Use in Construction.
  • Have young workers been hired to work in the concrete forming, masonry, siding and built-up roofing trades? Ensure young workers are adequately trained and supervised at all times.
  • Are surface conditions free from debris that may cause slips, trips and falls? Ensure that work surfaces are clear of debris and treated with sand if slippery.
  • Are workers adequately supervised by a competent supervisor? Ensure that a competent supervisor is supervising the work when there are five or more workers on site.

Concrete forming

Some common hazards:

  • Falls from unguarded edges
  • Slips, trips and falls due to surface conditions
  • Being struck by objects and equipment while stripping forms
  • Inadequate site planning and supervision
  • Inadequate training and instructions for workers

Safe practices include:

Good planning, instruction, communication and supervision are the key to preventing high-rise and low-rise forming injuries.

Protect form workers from fall hazards by:

  • ensuring all high-rise workers are protected by required guardrails or fall protection systems at all times, including guard rails along the edge and perimeter of concrete and an opening in the slabs
  • ensuring workers limit the length of their travel-restraint systems so that they cannot reach a work position where it is possible to fall
  • keeping horizontal, working surfaces free from debris and slippery conditions during high-rise and low-rise forming operations
  • ensuring adequate measures and procedures are in place to prevent material from falling on workers
  • ensuring scaffolds, ladders and elevating devices are used and maintained in accordance with the Construction Regulation and manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations

Siding

Hazards:

  • Falls resulting from the unauthorized setup and use of ladders
  • Unsafe work platforms such as modified pump jack systems
  • Material falling on workers
  • Slips and trips due to poor surface conditions

Safe practices include:

  • Workers must be provided with, and use, adequate fall protection if no suitable guardrails are reasonably possible to install
  • Follow the recommended best practices on safe ladder use in the PLMHSC Guideline on Ladder Use in Construction
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions and recommendations on the safe setup, use and inspection of scaffold systems
  • Ensure measures and procedures are in place to prevent workers from walking under a raised platform and to prevent material from falling on a worker
  • Ensure surfaces remain free from debris and slippery conditions

Masonry

Hazards:

  • Fall hazards between levels
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Material falling on workers

Safe practices include:

  • When erecting masonry scaffolds, follow the construction industry's best practices found in the
  • PLMHSC Health and Safety Fall Protection Guideline on Masonry Scaffold Erection
  • When using ladders, follow the best practices recommended in the PLMHSC Guideline on Ladder Use in Construction
  • Keep scaffold platforms and other surfaces free from debris and slippery conditions
  • Ensure adequate measures and procedures are in place to prevent workers from being struck by objects

Built-up roofing

Some common Hazards:

  • Falls between levels
  • Material falling on workers
  • Slips, trips and falls

Safe practices include:

  • Always use a fall-arrest or travel-restraint system attached to an adequate rooftop anchor
  • When using ladders, follow the best practices recommended in the PLMHSC Guideline on Ladder Use in Construction
  • Use barriers on flat roofs to make workers aware of the roof’s edges
  • Ensure appropriate measures and procedures are in place to prevent material from falling on workers
  • Ensure surfaces are free from debris and slippery conditions

More information about safety on construction projects

Call toll-free

Call 1-877-202-0008 any time to report critical injuries, fatalities or work refusals. Call 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.,Monday-Friday for general inquiries about workplace health and safety. Always call 911 in an emergency.

[ 1 ] The lost-time injury (LTI) rate is the number of injuries involving lost time at work per 100 workers.

Disclaimer: This web resource has been prepared to assist the workplace parties in understanding some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the regulations. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation.

It is the responsibility of the workplace parties to ensure compliance with the legislation. This web resource does not constitute legal advice. If you require assistance with respect to the interpretation of the legislation and its potential application in specific circumstances, please contact your legal counsel.

While this web resource will also be available to Ministry of Labour inspectors, they will apply and enforce the OHSA and its regulations based on the facts as they may find them in the workplace. This web resource does not affect their enforcement discretion in any way.