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Construction Program

Safe At Work Ontario

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.

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, “construction” is defined to include erection, alteration, repair, dismantling, demolition, structural maintenance, painting, land clearing, earth moving, grading, excavating, trenching, digging, boring, drilling, blasting or concreting, the installation of any machinery or plant, and any work or undertaking in connection with a project (excluding any work or undertaking underground in a mine). “Project” is also defined in section 1 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Construction inspectors enforce the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations at construction projects across the province. As part of the Safe At Work Ontario strategy, they focus on specific construction sectors where there are high injury rates, history of non-compliance, and known workplace hazards. They will also continue to confirm/verify overall compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.

Construction blitzes

Excavation hazards

Construction excavation and trenching are inherently hazardous. Most fatal cave-ins occur on small, short-duration jobs such as gas, electrical, water and sewer connections. Inspectors have identified the need to once again focus on excavation projects. This blitz ran from May 1 to May 31, 2014 and its focus was to check:

  • for improper shoring practices, improper trenching procedures and soil types;
  • equipment and traffic control; and
  • power line proximity and inadequate locates.
Table 22: Excavation hazards blitz stats
Program activities Number
Field visits 1,094
Workplaces visited 957
Orders and requirements issued 2,191
Stop work orders 186
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 2.29
Orders and requirements per field visit 2

Resources

Fall protection / hazards

Falls continue to be a major source of injury and death within the construction industry. This blitz ran from July 1, 2014 to August 31, 2014 and focused on fall-related hazards at provincially regulated construction projects, diving operations and window cleaning activities where a worker may be exposed to a fall-related hazard. The goal of this blitz was to check that workers:

  • wore fall protection equipment, when required;
  • had received adequate training in the use of fall protection equipment;
  • were protected with the use of guardrails, where required; and
  • used work platforms according to manufacturers’ instructions.
Table 23: Fall protection / hazards blitz stats
Program activities Number
Field visits 2,038
Workplaces visited 1,670
Orders and requirements issued 6,536
Stop work orders 584
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 3.86
Orders and requirements per field visit 3.17

Resources

Provincial construction enforcement initiatives

The provincial enforcement initiatives carried out by construction inspectors from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 were:

  • traffic protection;
  • roofing;
  • residential housing;
  • infill housing; and
  • industrial, commercial, institutional.
Table 24: Construction health and safety program initiatives
Program activities Number
Field visits 172
Workplaces visited 157
Orders and requirements issued 327
Stop work orders 34
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 14.25
Orders and requirements per field visit 13.1

Resources

Regional construction enforcement initiatives

Central East Region

Man / material hoists

The focus of this initiative was to inspect temporary hoists in construction projects in Central East Region from November 1 to 30, 2014. Temporary hoists are installed on multi-level construction projects to transport personnel and material. During inspections and investigations, the ministry discovered installation deficiencies and maintenance and inspection deficiencies. The ministry was concerned with the state of man and material hoists operating at construction projects and the impact that poorly installed and maintained hoists have on worker and public safety.

Table 25: Man / material hoists (Central East Region)
Program activities Number
Field visits 37
Workplaces visited 28
Orders and requirements issued 53
Stop work orders 3
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 1.89
Orders and requirements per field visit 1.43

Central West Region

Tower cranes, man and material hoists, concrete pumps

This regional initiative ran from October 1 to 31, 2014 and achieved two primary goals:

  1. The initiative increased ministry inspector awareness regarding the mandate and role of the Technical Standards and Safety Association as well as the Ontario Cast-in-place Concrete Development Council.
  2. The initiative also raised stakeholder awareness of the mandate and role of the ministry, and afforded an opportunity for stakeholders and safety partners to provide current information, employer training information, and to ask questions of the ministry.

The ministry gained valuable industry insights and perspectives by including stakeholders and safety partners in a proactive planning approach in June, prior to the October initiative.

On September 24, 2014, attendees from Laborer’s International Union of North America Local 183, Ontario Cast-in-place Concrete Development Council and the Technical Standards and Safety Association were part of a ministry information session concerning best practices, with a specific focus directed to equipment operator training, inspection and maintenance records, and hazard awareness to all workers working around or under this equipment at a project.

Table 26: Tower cranes, man and material hoists, concrete pumps (Central West Region)
Program activities Number
Field visits 44
Workplaces visited 44
Orders and requirements issued 56
Stop work orders 0
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 1.28
Orders and requirements per field visit 1.28

Amusement devices

This was a joint initiative with the Industrial Health and Safety Program which ran from July 1 to September 30, 2014. Please refer to Amusement devices under Central West industrial regional initiatives.

Western Region

Roofing

This two-year project was a partnership with the Industrial Health and Safety Program, Prevention and other stakeholders for education and outreach activities. It involved the development of simple, easy-to-use tools for employers and ran from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2015. Before and after-hours information sessions were held in various locations across the province. A total of 119 participants attended the sessions.

Table 27: Roofing (for two-year period) (Western Region)
Program activities Number
Field visits 892
Workplaces visited 722
Orders and requirements issued 2,672
Stop work orders 154
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 3.7
Orders and requirements per field visit 3

Northern Region

Residential / cottage development

The Northern Region conducted this initiative as a result of local intelligence from inspectors indicating that a higher profile of enforcement in residential / cottage development, including non-notifiable projects, is required. The initiative aimed to enhance worker safety, promote safer workplace practices and allow inspectors to inspect non-registered organizations, while ensuring compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The active period for this initiative was from June 1 to July 31, 2014.

Inspectors had the opportunity to educate clients within the residential and cottage development industry concerning legislated standards, promoting the Internal Responsiblity System and introducing clients to the workplace safety associations.

Table 28: Residential/cottage development (Northern Region)
Program activities Number
Field visits 77
Workplaces visited 72
Orders and requirements issued 94
Stop work orders 5
Orders and requirements per workplace visited 1.3
Orders and requirements per field visit 1.22

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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.