On May 13, 2010, the Ontario government announced new measures to increase safety in the construction industry. These measures are a result of past enforcement inspection blitzes at construction worksites.
The most common violations found in the recent construction site safety blitzes involved guardrails, suspended scaffolds, fall protection systems and worker training. Results from these blitzes and others can be found at www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/sawo/blitzes/index.php.
In response to the blitz results at construction sites, the government intends to:
- Increase enforcement at construction sites, with a zero tolerance approach to fall-related contraventions. As part of this enforcement measure, inspectors will include targeting construction sub-sectors showing higher rates of non-compliance. In addition, inspectors will continue to monitor enforcement with employers who repeatedly contravene the law.
- In addition to multi-language awareness campaigns urging the public and interested stakeholders to report unsafe labour practices and conditions; anybody who spot what might be an unsafe labour practice in any Ontario workplace will able to call toll-free 1-877-202-0008 to report it.
- The Ministry of Labour will work with provincial and municipal organizations to allow for greater sharing of building project information. It will also seek to broaden its information-gathering ability by proposing regulatory amendments that would require employers to notify the ministry before they use suspended platforms/scaffolds.
- The Ministry of Labour is asking the panel that is currently reviewing workplace health and safety in Ontario to add to the review if worker and supervisor training should be made mandatory.
- The ministry will also seek advice from the Provincial Labour Management Health and Safety Committee on expanding the use of enforcement tools (such as ticketing and summons), increasing fines and, more generally, mandatory training for workers and supervisors on fall protection and other high hazard construction activities.
Human Resources and Compliance Managing Editor