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Summer Blitz Targets Trench Hazards

Ontario Committed To Preventing Workplace Injuries


Ontario will conduct a two-month enforcement blitz focusing on hazards that can arise when workers construct trenches for installation or repair of utilities or sewers.

In July and August, 2015, Ministry of Labour inspectors will visit various construction projects where trenches are being excavated across Ontario. Inspectors will check for hazards that could result in worker injuries or death. This includes checking that employers are taking appropriate action to assess and address these hazards and are complying with Ontario’s occupational health and safety laws.

In particular, inspectors will focus on:

  • trench work notification to the Ministry of Labour
  • trench wall support
  • identification, location and marking of utilities before work is undertaken
  • measures to prevent slips, trips and falls by workers

Protecting workers is part of the government's continued commitment to prevent workplace injuries and illness through its Safe At Work Ontario enforcement initiative.


"Hazards involving the building of trenches can lead to serious incidents at construction projects. People have died and others have been critically injured because proper precautions weren’t taken, and that is simply unacceptable. Our government is committed to keeping workers safe on the job, and this blitz will help prevent future incidents and ensure workers and employers know their rights and responsibilities."
– Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour

"Construction workers can be at serious risk if soil collapses, debris falls or workers fall into trenches. We are working to prevent these types of hazards. Employers, labour groups, workers and others must all play a role in preventing injury and death at Ontario construction workplaces."
– George Gritziotis, Chief Prevention Officer


  • All workers have the right to refuse unsafe work under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Workers can report unsafe work to the Ministry of Labour any time by calling the Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008. In an emergency, always call 911 immediately.
  • Between 2008 and 2014, 17 workers died and 42 workers were critically injured in trenching and excavation incidents at Ontario construction projects.
  • Since 2008, ministry inspectors have conducted more than 345,000 field visits, and 71 inspection blitzes.
  • Inspectors have issued more than 560,000 compliance orders in Ontario workplaces since June 2008


Read more about Ontario’s Safe At Work Ontario strategy to improve workplace safety.

Learn about the ministry’s Construction Sector Plan 2015-2016.

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