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Safe Concrete Forming on Low-Rise Residential Construction Projects

Safe At Work Ontario
  • Issued: May 2011
  • Content last reviewed: May 2011

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.

Concrete forming on low-rise residential construction projects can be hazardous. The health and safety of workers must not be put at risk by the constant activity, the use of large equipment, and the handling of heavy material.

Some duties of workplace parties


Employer obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) include:

  • ensuring workers are trained in fall hazards [O. Reg 213/91, s. 26.2 (1) (4)]
  • appointing a competent person as supervisor [clause 25(2)(c)]
  • taking every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker [clause 25(2)(h)], and
  • posting a copy of the occupational health and safety policy in the workplace, where workers will be most likely to see it [clause 25(2)(k)].

An employer with six or more workers must also:

  • prepare an occupational health and safety policy, review that policy at least once a year, and set up a program to implement it [clause 25(2)(j)].


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

  • ensure workers work in compliance with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by the OHSA and regulations [section 27(1)(a)]
  • take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of workers [section 27(2)(c)].

Protecting workers

Employers and supervisors must ensure that all of the provisions of the OHSA and prescribed regulations are complied with by all workplace parties.

Health and safety considerations for low-rise concrete forming

  • Have the specific work-related hazards been analyzed?
  • Has specific training been provided to inspect hazards identified for low-rise concrete forming (e.g., fall protection, excavation safety, material handling, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), signalling/flagging)?
  • Concrete pumping is encouraged; is there a level delivery area to allow trucks close enough to place concrete without additional chutes?
  • Will any work be performed from ladders, scaffolds and work platforms? (Ensure correct size and use, and workers’ competence.)
  • Has entry to — and exit from — the work area been considered, and have ways been identified to keep this area free of obstructions? (Consider level ground, debris removal, proximity of forms to erection location.)
  • Has proper equipment been provided for material handling to reduce the risk of overexertion or musculoskeletal disorders? (Consider forklifts, cranes, boom trucks, and other lifting devices.)
  • Are workers trained in safe use of access equipment such as ladders, scaffolds, work platforms and powered elevating work platforms?
  • Is hearing protection required?
  • Have hazardous chemicals and other toxic substances been identified, and are there engineering controls and other safety measures in place to deal with them?

Inspector focus

When encountering concrete forming operations at low-rise residential construction projects, ministry inspectors will address the specific hazards identified in this fact sheet, making certain that employers, supervisors and workers comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations, especially the sections of the Construction Regulation (O. Reg. 213/91) that apply to these hazards.

More information about safety on construction projects

Call toll-free

Call 1-877-202-0008 anytime to report workplace health and safety incidents or for general inquiries about health and safety at the workplace.

Safe workplaces mean productive workplaces

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.