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BACKGROUNDER

Construction Traffic Focus of Spring Blitz

  • Issued: May 15, 2015
  • Content last reviewed: May 2015
  • See also: Bulletin

Ontario will target the dangers of working near construction traffic during an enforcement blitz at construction sites from May 1 to June 30, 2015.

The increased enforcement is part of the province’s Safe At Work Ontario strategy, launched in June 2008.

Ministry inspectors will check for hazards that could endanger workers at workplaces with vehicles and large pieces of mobile equipment. The inspectors will visit construction sites where construction workers can be exposed to dump trucks, loaders, concrete pump trucks, bulldozers, mobile cranes, back hoes, compact excavators, lift trucks and personal vehicles.

Between 1997 and 2011, 91 workers died as a result of being struck by, or caught in between, materials and/or equipment, according to a 2012 Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) report on fatalities in Ontario’s construction industry.

Of those, 28 workers were struck by moving equipment.

In 17 of these 28 deaths, the equipment was backing up when it struck and killed the worker.

In 2014, six workers were killed by moving vehicles or equipment, two of which were killed by vehicles they were in the process of directing as a signalperson.

Workers can be at risk at constructions sites due to:

  • Construction projects not being planned and organized to avoid or reduce reversing vehicles
  • Inadequately trained signallers and equipment operators
  • Obstructed views by equipment operators
  • Lack of conspicuous warning signs in areas where vehicles may be driven in reverse
  • Lack of high visibility clothing or wearing clothing that is worn out

Blitz Focus

Inspectors will focus on hazards that could result in injuries and death. In particular, they will focus on constructions projects:

  • Valued at more than $50,000 in material and labour
  • Identified as being high-priority due to potential hazards involving vehicle traffic and large mobile equipment
  • Where complaints have been received
  • Where there is a poor compliance history

Inspectors will take enforcement action, as appropriate, for any contraventions found under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations.

The blitz is being held to:

  • Raise awareness of key health and safety hazards related to interaction of equipment and workers on foot at construction sites
  • Increase workplace compliance with the law and
  • Prevent injuries and illnesses that could arise from unsafe work practices

Priorities

Inspectors will focus on the following key priorities:

  • Project planned and organized: Inspectors will check if workplace parties have planned and organized the construction site to avoid or reduce the reverse operation of vehicles.
  • Proper movement of material and equipment: Inspectors will check to see if measures and procedures are in place for safe movement of material and equipment.
  • Signallers and Equipment Operators: Inspectors will verify that employers are ensuring signallers and equipment operators are competent workers, and that signallers do not perform any other work when performing the duties of a signaller.
  • High Visibility Clothing: Inspectors will check that high visibility clothing is worn by signallers and workers who may be endangered by vehicle traffic at construction sites.
  • Dump trucks alarms: Inspectors will verify that dump trucks are equipped with automatic audible alarms when operated in reverse.

Craig MacBride, Minister’s Office, 416-326-7709
William Lin, Communications Branch, 416-326-7405

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