Safety Blitz Targets Construction Site Hazards
McGuinty Government Committed To Eliminating Workplace Injuries
As part of Ontario's ongoing efforts to help reduce workplace injuries, inspectors will be "blitzing" construction sites to help eliminate specific hazards to health and safety starting in August.
The province-wide blitz will target health and safety hazards at demolition and renovation projects. The inspections are part of the province's new four year plan--Safe at Work Ontario, launched in June.
Inspectors will check for work around energized electrical equipment, possible chemical and biological hazards and hazards that could result in workers falling or being struck by material or equipment. They will also look for hazards that could lead to structural failures or collapses.
Future health and safety inspections will focus on the following sectors:
- In August, demolition sites
- In September, inspectors will start to concentrate on industrial workplace hazards that can cause workers to fall
- In November, inspectors will focus on electrical hazards in industrial workplaces
- Early next year, inspectors will conduct special checks on industrial sector forklift operations and on construction site conditions that could cause workers to be struck by equipment.
For each violation, the court can impose a fine of up to $500,000 against a corporation convicted under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Individuals, if convicted, could face a fine of up to $25,000 or imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both.
Keeping more workers safe means increased productivity for Ontario's economy and less strain on the health care system.
- The Ministry of Labour compliance program that ran from April 1, 2004 to March 31, 2008 reduced the workplace lost time injury rate by 20 per cent, or more than 50,000 incidents.
- Because of this drop in the annual rate of lost time injuries, employers have avoided about $5 billion in direct and indirect costs during the four years ending March 31, 2008.
- Ontario employs 430 full-time occupational health and safety inspectors.
“Demolition and renovation projects are two areas of construction that don’t always get a lot of attention because we tend to focus on what’s being built rather than what’s being torn down or repaired. Targeted enforcement at these worksites will help us to achieve our goal of eliminating all workplace injuries.”