TORONTO — Ontario plans to implement an action plan which aims to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities for workers on construction sites across the province.
Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn announced the Construction Health and Safety Action Plan May 11 at the construction site for the new courthouse in Toronto.
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, a release from the province reads.
Some initiatives in the Construction Health and Safety Action Plan include:
developing a web tool and mobile app to help employers and workers understand their health and safety obligations and rights for specific construction projects;building an online portal that allows building inspectors to report unsafe work practices to the government;increasing awareness about working-at-heights training requirements; and improving health and safety in the construction sector.
According to the release, about 30 per cent of all work-related traumatic fatalities and occupational disease fatality claims occurred in the construction sector, yet it comprises only 6.7 per cent of all provincial employment and 8.4 per cent of WSIB-insured employment. In the construction sector, 36 per cent of traumatic fatalities allowed by WSIB were due to falls from heights.
"Construction deaths continue to be unacceptably high," said Flynn. "We are committed to preventing tragedy so construction workers can go home safe and sound at the end of each work day. We all have a role and responsibility to make our workplaces healthy and safe."
The Construction Health and Safety Action Plan responds to the premier’s 2014-2015 mandate letter to the minister of labour. It included direction for the chief prevention officer to work with the construction sector on improving safety.
"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," said Chief Prevention Officer George Grtiziotis. "We are working towards full implementation."
Construction is Ontario’s seventh largest sector with about 500,000 workers, of which 45 per cent are employed by businesses with fewer than 20 workers.