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March Safety Blitz Focuses on High-Risk Construction Trades

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March Safety Blitz Focuses on High-Risk Construction Trades

As part of the Safe At Work Ontario strategy, the government is increasing inspections of construction sites employing workers in the five most hazardous construction trades -- high-rise formwork, low-rise formwork and masonry, siding and built-up roofing work. Inspections will check for health and safety hazards to help prevent workplace injuries.

BACKGROUND

Workers in the five targeted trades are exposed to high-risk work and hazards that can result in death or severe, long-term injuries. They are at risk due to:

  • unsafe use of equipment such as ladders, platforms and scaffolds
  • slips, trips and falls (especially during concrete forming operations, siding, masonry and roofing work)
  • inadequate education, training and supervision of workers (especially of new and young workers).

The lost-time injury (LTI) rate (number of injuries involving lost time at work per 100 workers) for these five trades ranges from almost double to four times higher than injury rates for the construction industry in general.

ONTARIO'S HIGH-RISK CONSTRCTION TRADES BLITZ

The March-long blitz will focus on hazards that can lead to falls from heights, slips on debris-covered surfaces and other dangers and will:
  • prevent injuries and illnesses that could arise from unsafe work practices
  • raise awareness of key health and safety hazards in each trade
  • assist workplace parties in complying with the law.

Inspectors will continue to take a "zero tolerance" approach to any breach of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), its regulations and will focus on the following key priorities:

  • Equipment use -- all work equipment should be used in a safe and proper manner. In particular, ladders, work platforms and scaffolds must be used in accordance with the Construction Regulation.
  • Fall protection -- required fall protection systems must be used when working at heights and workers must be trained on the use of fall protection equipment and supervised when working at heights.
  • Slips, trips and falls -- construction sites should be kept clear of debris and other conditions that could cause slips, trips and falls. This is particular important during winter. 

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