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BACKGROUNDER

Construction Safety Focus of Campaign


Ontario has launched a number of initiatives to improve the health and safety of construction workers. The initiatives target falls as well as hazards specifically involving roofing work at construction sites, including:

  • A pilot project to inspect construction sites after hours
  • Two enforcement initiatives to check on compliance
  • Educational activities to improve awareness of legislative requirements

After-Hours Inspection Project

The Ministry of Labour expanded its hours for construction workplace inspections. Inspectors visited construction sites seven days a week, including early mornings, evenings and weekends through to September 30, 2013.

The two-month pilot project was part of a broad strategy to improve protection of vulnerable workers, some of whom may be employed in the underground economy and lack proper training and supervision.

The project was partly in response to a recommendation of the Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health and Safety. The recommendation called for the ministry to inspect workplaces and sectors operating in the underground economy after normal working hours.

Falls Hazards Targeted Enforcement

Throughout September and October, construction inspectors are visiting a variety of construction sites to check on compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.

They are checking that:

  • Employers have policies, programs and safe work practices in place to protect workers from falls hazards
  • Workers working on ladders, mobile stands and platforms and are properly trained and supervised
  • Workers use appropriate fall protection systems, personal protective equipment and other safety devices
  • Openings in floors and work surfaces and walls are protected by guardrails or protective coverings

Workers can be at increased risk of falling due to:

  • Missing protective devices (e.g. guardrails)
  • Unsuitable and/or lack of maintenance of guardrails and covers
  • Unguarded openings in floors, work surfaces or walls of buildings or other structures, including skylights in existing roof structures
  • Lack of appropriate personal protective equipment (equipment not available, not used or misused)
  • Equipment that is misused or in poor condition (e.g. ladders, scaffolds, and suspended access equipment)
  • Unclear job procedures, and lack of training
  • Poor lighting, slippery surfaces, cluttered work area and other deficient working conditions

The two-month, province-wide blitz is part of the government’s continued commitment to prevent workplace injuries and illness through its Safe At Work Ontario enforcement initiative.

Roofing Targeted Enforcement

Throughout August and September 2013, inspectors visited lowrise residential construction sites across Ontario to check for hazards involving sloped roofing. They also checked for fall protection training and setup, use of ladders, heat stress and materials handling hazards that can lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

Sloped roofing hazards include inappropriate use of fall protection systems, poor ladder setup, poorly maintained equipment and overhead Hydro lines.

Educational Activities

A series of safety awareness seminarsPDF [ 1.06 Mb ] are being held for the lowrise residential roofing sector across Ontario this Fall.

The two-hour seminars are being led by the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association, one of the ministry’s key health and safety partners. Ministry staff is participating in the seminars.

The first session began on September 18 in Sudbury and continues in October in Ebicoke, Oshawa, Sarnia Hamilton, Kingston, Ottawa, Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie.

Sessions will also be held in November in Niagara Falls, Windsor, Kitchener, London and Barrie.

The seminars will focus on safe work practices for roofing, what to expect when a ministry inspector visits a construction site, a review of the legislation, IHSA resources and statistics on injuries and deaths involving roofing.

Jonathan Rose, Minister's Office, 416-326-7709
Matt Blajer, Communications Branch, 416-326-7405

ontario.ca/labour-news
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