Ontario is helping to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities for workers on construction sites across the province through the implementation of its Construction Health and Safety Action Plan.
Created with input from construction employers, workers and other industry stakeholders, Ontario's plan contains 16 recommendations to strengthen the prevention of work-related injury and illness for construction workers on sites of all sizes across the province.
“Construction deaths continue to be unacceptably high. We are committed to preventing tragedy so construction workers can go home safe and sound at the end of each work day. To do this, we must all work together. We all have a role and responsibility to make our workplaces healthy and safe,” said Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn.
Through these recommendations the government and its safety partners are working to develop online tools, apps and web portals to provide easy access to construction health and safety information such as key hazards.
The government is also exploring options for increasing and expanding fines for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulation for Construction Projects as well as consulting with stakeholders on an accreditation program that would recognize employers who successfully implement occupational health and safety programs.
It also wants to embed construction health and safety topics in existing school curricula and apprenticeship training programs.
“This action plan is designed to ensure the health and safety of all construction workers through more targeted enforcement, exploring opportunities to expand the application of tickets, enhanced worker awareness and training by building partnerships and ensuring effective outreach strategies. We are working towards full implementation,” said George Gritziotis, chief prevention officer.
A number of initiatives in the Construction Health and Safety Action Plan have already been completed to implement some of the recommendations, including: training, blitzes and underground economy enforcement by the Ministry of Labour targeting working at heights and residential roofing projects; implementing an advanced training program for construction supervisors to improve their skills in communicating health and safety information to workers; and establishing Ministry of Labour partnerships with municipalities to pilot a web-based software program that enables municipal building inspectors to report unsafe work practices to the ministry.
About 30 per cent of all work-related traumatic fatalities and occupational disease fatality claims for workplaces in Ontario occurred in the construction sector, yet it comprises only 6.7 per cent of all provincial employment.