A recent Ministry of Labour (MOL) report raises serious concerns for worker safety, supervisor competency and employer compliance in the construction sector.
The MOL report summarizes the results from a 2012 inspection blitz. According to the report, inspectors issued more than 5,000 orders to employers to comply with health and safety law over the course of the two month blitz, including almost 500stop work orders. Stop work orders are issued where inspectors determine an immediate threat to the health and safety of a worker.
The highest number of orders related to a lack of compliance with fall protection requirements set out in the Regulation for Construction Projects (O. Reg. 213/91). Falls are the single largest cause of critical injuries and worker deaths on construction sites. Most of the stop work orders issued during the blitz also stemmed from uncontrolled fall hazards.
The specific target of this MOL blitz though, was to measure “supervisory safety engagement.” Inspectors assessed both employer and supervisor duties such as provision of adequate worker training and the development and posting of written emergency procedures. Inspectors also focused on various aspects of joint health and safety committee (JHSC) involvement including meetings and inspections. Also assessed was the role of the JHSC or worker representative in reviewing emergency procedures as well as timely supervisor response to JHSC recommendations.
Based on the inspector findings, the report concludes, “The Ministry of Labour will continue to focus on supervisors … Supervisor compliance with safety requirements is essential to maintaining health and safety in the workplace.
This summer, the MOL proposes to introduce new mandatory training requirements for all Ontario supervisors.
The Workers Health & Safety Centre (WHSC) can help prepare your supervisors now. WHSC In-class or E-class Supervisor Health and Safety Training can help supervisors understand and comply with their many legal responsibilities and help employers meet legal competency and training requirements.
Want to know more about relevant WHSC training?
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Want to know how the WHSC can help with all of your occupational health and safety training needs, including fall protection training for all sectors? Call Toll Free 1-888-869-7950 and ask to speak to a WHSC Training Services representative.
Want to know more about the MOL Construction Sector blitz results?