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Mobile Cranes and Material Hoisting

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 safe operation of mobile cranes in Ontario continues to be a major concern for the Ministry of Labour.

Between April 1, 2011 and May 31, 2016, three workers died and 12 were seriously injured in incidents involving mobile cranes at construction sites across Ontario, according to Ministry of Labour reports. There were also 66 reported incidents involving minor injuries to workers or “close calls”. Some of these incidents occurred when cranes overturned, or when the cranes or the material that they were lifting struck or crushed workers when the load was dropped, or when the crane or its load came in contact with overhead energized power lines.

Some general duties of workplace parties under the OHSA and its regulations:

Employers

The Occupational Health and Safety Act, (OHSA) sets out general responsibilities for employers. Among other duties, an employer must:

  • instruct, inform and supervise workers to protect their health and safety [OHSA s. 25(2)(a)]
  • appoint competent persons as supervisors [OHSA s. 25(2)(c)]
  • take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of workers [OHSA s. 25(2)(h)]
  • post a copy of the OHSA in the workplace [OHSA s. 25(2)(i)]

An employer with six or more employees must:

  • prepare an occupational health and safety policy, review that policy at least once a year and set up a program to implement it [OHSA s. 25(2)(j)]
  • post a copy of the policy in the workplace in a spot workers will be most likely to see it
    [OHSA s. 25 (2)(k)]

Supervisors

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

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

Workers

Below are some general duties contained in the OHSA for workers. A worker must:

  • work in compliance with the provisions of the OHSA and its regulations [OHSA s. 28(1)(a)]
  • use or wear the equipment, protective device or clothing required by the employer [OHSA s. 28(1)(b)]
  • report any defects of equipment, other hazards, and any contraventions to their supervisor or employer [OHSA s. 28(1)(c) and (d)]
  • not use or operate any equipment in a manner that would endanger themselves or another worker [OHSA s. 28(2)(b)]

Workers should be aware of their OHSA rights, including the right to refuse unsafe work and the right to know about any potential hazards.

Protecting workers

Employers, supervisors and trainers should encourage workers to communicate any questions or concerns they may have about fall hazards. Supervisors or others involved in training workers should be familiar with any health and safety concerns affecting the workers.

Suppliers

Suppliers of rented or leased machines, devices, tools or equipment for use in OHSA-covered workplaces must ensure the equipment:

  • is maintained in good condition [OHSA s. 31(1)(a)]
  • complies with the OHSA and its regulations [OHSA s. 31(1)(b)]

Owners

Owners of cranes or similar hoisting devices must:

  • keep a permanent record of all inspections, tests, repairs, modifications and maintenance [Regulations for Construction Projects s. 152(1)]
  • prepare a log book that includes a permanent record of whichever is greater: the past 12 months or the period the cranes or hoisting devices are on the project [Construction Regulations s. 152(2)]
  • keep the log book with the cranes or hoisting devices [Construction Regulations s. 152(3)]
  • retain and make available to the constructor, on request, copies of all log books and records for the cranes or hoisting devices [Construction Regulations s. 152(4)]

For more information on legal responsibilities please visit e-Laws

Further information on mobile crane safety

Ministry of Labour Health & Safety Contact Centre

Call toll-free 1-877-202-0008 anytime to report workplace health and safety incidents. Call 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, for general inquiries about workplace health and safety.

Always call 911 in an emergency.

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.