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Ontario Erectors Association


Ministry of Labour’s latest monthly report to the Provincial Labour Management Health and Safety Committee (PLMHSC).  You will note there were 18 fatalities in the construction industry 2017 versus 14 in 2016.  That metric is headed in the wrong direction.  Let’s commit to doing everything we can to reverse that trend and minimize the suffering in 2018.

Section 1 brought to you by Brian Barron, Provincial Coordinator, Construction Health and Safety Program, Ontario Ministry of Labour

Reporting Month Statistics – Quick Overview

DOWNLOAD HERE MOL Report to LM 2018 January

Provincial Coordinator’s Comments

In my last few updates I have touched on exceeding the regulation, risk management and hierarchies of control. The intent of these updates was to encourage:

 a proactive way of thinking about health and safety planning;

 meeting the needs of workers in the best way possible; and

 integration of health and safety into production.

While all of these concepts are necessary in protecting worker health and safety on the job, there is another approach that we also need to advance that will aid in how our workers perform their daily tasks – safety by design.

Safety by Design

On the majority of our construction projects, safety often is paid little consideration when designing the plans for whatever is to be built. The final form and function is always the primary goal of the design; how it is to be built is usually secondary. This way of designing inherently puts construction workers at a disadvantage as they need to adapt safe work practices to a new design. It also introduces dangers to the worker that they may not be aware of or anticipate, if they have not properly assessed the safety aspects of the task or do not have the right equipment to perform the job safely.

Unfortunately we still have a construction culture of “making do with what we have available” versus taking the time and money to ensure we have the best and most appropriate safety equipment possible to perform the job.

Up until now the system partners and stakeholders have invested considerable resources in training workers, which is and always will be necessary, but we haven’t spent a lot of time on engineering our projects in such a way so as to ensure that workers are not exposed to hazards. This systemic problem requires a significant level of judgment on behalf of the workplace parties, which is subject to human error.

As an industry, we need to spend more time working in the early planning and design 2


phases of a project to ensure that the appropriate level of safety is built into all aspects of the project. We should not accept that this be solely the responsibility of workplace parties to determine what they need. For example:

 integration of anchor points on trusses before they leave the ground for erection, or

 ensuring safe access routes and plans that are designed on flat roofs from the hatch to the areas to be worked upon, or

 ensuring walls are built in such a way to accept a proper work platform as construction progresses so that workers are not walking on top of the wall.

Health and safety needs to be fully integrated into the design of a building or structure to ensure that it is easy and practical to implement. I would suggest that it is no longer good enough to simply leave this up to the workplace parties. As a system and an industry we need to work closely with those who design our projects to ensure that the health and safety of the workers who build our buildings and structures are considered before the design is completed.

Brian Barron, Provincial Coordinator

Construction Health and Safety Program, Ontario Ministry of Labour