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BACKGROUNDER

August Blitz To Focus On Construction Safety


  • Issued: August 2, 2011
  • Content last reviewed: August 2011
  • See also: Bulletin

This month, inspectors will visit construction sites across Ontario to focus on hazards involving all types of access equipment.

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

The Ministry of Labour inspectors will check for potential access equipment hazards, such as poor setup or maintenance that can result in collapses, falls and other incidents. These hazards can put construction workers at risk of serious injury or death.

Access equipment allows a worker to access an area of a workplace that can’t be accessed from the ground including ladders, standing or suspended work platforms and mobile equipment elevating devices such as a scissor lift or a telescoping boom work platform.

Background

Between 2003 and 2008, more than one-third of fatal falls involving construction workers involved access equipment.

In total, 61 construction workers died from falls at construction sites. Of those, 24 fatalities involved access equipment.

Hazards that can lead to incidents involving access equipment include:

  • A ladder being improperly secured or not secured at all
  • A suspended scaffold being overloaded, balanced with insufficient counterweights or not being tied back
  • A power-elevated work platform being overloaded, poorly maintained or operated on uneven or unstable ground
  • A mast climber being loaded with an uneven distribution of weight
  • A platform being erected near live overhead power lines
  • An access platform being erected with no toe boards or an unsecured area beneath
  • Mechanical parts being poorly maintained, including drive systems, wire ropes and hydraulic systems
  • Disregard of safety system indicators, and
  • Poor assembly and set up of equipment that is not in accordance with the manufacturer’s or engineer’s design.

Blitz Focus

Any construction project in Ontario may be visited during the blitz.

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

Construction inspectors will focus on the following key priorities:

  • Training: Inspectors will check whether operators of access equipment are properly trained in accordance with legislated requirements. They will also check whether the operators are trained in fall protection, if needed, and familiar with rescue and emergency procedures for the project.
  • Safe use, inspection and testing of equipment: Inspectors will check whether access equipment is being used in accordance with legislated requirements.
  • Maintenance records and other documentation: Inspectors will check records, including the equipment’s suitability for use at the construction project.
  • Rescue and emergency procedures: Inspectors will check the constructor’s written emergency procedures for the project and whether those procedures could be implemented if needed. They will also check the employer’s written procedures for rescuing a worker if his or her fall is arrested by a fall arrest system.
  • Other hazards: Inspectors will check whether risk assessments have been made to protect workers’ health and safety, including assessments to evaluate ergonomics and other factors.

Greg Dennis, Minister’s Office, 416-326-7710
Matt Blajer, Communications Branch, 416-326-7405