Safety Blitz Targets Construction Sites



    McGuinty Government Committed To Eliminating Workplace Injuries

    TORONTO, Feb. 25 /CNW/ -

    NEWS

    Ontario is continuing its efforts to reduce workplace injuries by
cracking down on hazards involving construction equipment and materials
handling at construction sites in March, 2009.
    During the safety "blitz," inspectors will pay particular attention to
conditions that could result in workers being struck - or trapped and crushed
- by moving equipment or improperly secured building materials.
    For each conviction, the court can impose a fine of up to $500,000
against a corporation convicted under the Occupational Health and Safety Act
(http://webx.newswire.ca/click/?id=5d2f7704ba35459). Individuals face a fine
of up to $25,000 or imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both.
    This initiative is part of the province's Safe At Work Ontario blitz
strategy (http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/news/2008/08-63.html), announced
in June 2008. Keeping more workers safe means increased productivity for
Ontario's economy and less strain on the health care system.

    QUOTES

    "There is no excuse for construction workers being injured by moving
equipment or shifting materials," said Labour Minister Peter Fonseca
(http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/about/mn_bio.html). "Ontario and its
workplace partners are committed to eliminating all workplace injuries,
including those related to construction equipment. Workers have a right to
come home each day to their families, safe and sound."

    QUICK FACTS

    
    -   For a safety compliance program that ran from April 1, 2004 to
        March 31, 2008, the annual lost-time workplace injury rate dropped by
        20 per cent.
    -   Thirty-four construction workers were killed when struck by, or
        crushed by, construction equipment (or the material being handled by
        the equipment) during the four years from 2005 to 2008, according to
        ministry statistics.
    -   During 2006, 60 per cent of construction fatalities involved heavy
        equipment (including electrocution when equipment contacted power
        lines).
    -   Ontario employs 430 full-time occupational health and safety
        inspectors.

    LEARN MORE

    Read more about Ontario's four year plan, Safe at Work Ontario
(http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/index.html), that will help strengthen
workplace safety.

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                                                      ontario.ca/labour-news
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                                                                BACKGROUNDER
                                                          Ministry of Labour
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                 CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT AND MATERIAL HANDLING
                     ENFORCEMENT BLITZ - FOCUS ON SAFETY

                                                           February 25, 2009
    

    Ministry of Labour inspectors will look for hazards involving
construction equipment and material handling during an enforcement blitz of
provincially regulated construction worksites in March.
    The increased enforcement is part of the province's Safe At Work Ontario
(http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/sawo/index.html) strategy, launched
(http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/news/2008/08-48.html) in June 2008.
    Heavy equipment used on construction sites - and often the building
materials that are being moved by this equipment - continue to cause workers
serious injuries and death. Overturning equipment is also a significant cause
of injury and death.
    Thirty-four construction workers were killed when struck by, or crushed
by, construction equipment (or the material being handled by the equipment) in
the four years from 2005 to 2008, according to ministry records.
    In 2006, 60 per cent of construction fatalities involved heavy equipment
(including electrocution when equipment contacted power lines).
    Among the factors found frequently to have contributed to such incidents
are poor training and procedures, and inadequate maintenance of equipment.
    Inspectors will take a "zero tolerance" approach to contraventions of the
Occupational Health and Safety Act
(http://webx.newswire.ca/click/?id=5d2f7704ba35459)and its regulations.

    BLITZ FOCUS

    During the construction equipment and material handling hazards safety
enforcement blitz, Ontario Ministry of Labour inspectors will pay particular
attention to hazards associated with the operation and moving of equipment as
well as the handling of materials on construction projects.

    Inspectors will focus on:

    
    -   the quality of equipment operators' training and supervision
    -   adherence to equipment manufacturers' operating instructions
    -   the presence and use of roll-over protection
    -   the adequacy of equipment maintenance
    -   proximity to overhead power lines
    -   the adequacy of excavation shoring
    -   worker exposure to carbon monoxide
    -   procedures for handling materials safely, and
    -   the protection of workers from being struck by construction equipment
        or road traffic.
    

    Inspectors will note contraventions and discuss with the workplace
parties any issues they may have with the work or work procedures.

    SAFE AT WORK ONTARIO

    Sector- and hazard-specific inspection blitzes are an important feature
of the province's Safe At Work Ontario
(http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/sawo/index.html) strategy. There is no
acceptable rate of injury in Ontario workplaces.

    That's why Safe At Work Ontario seeks to:

    
    -   improve workplace health and safety culture
    -   reduce workplace injuries and illness
    -   lessen the burden on the health care system
    -   avoid costs for employers and the Workplace Safety and Insurance
        Board (http://www.wsib.on.ca/wsib/wsibsite.nsf/public/Home_e), and
    -   provide a level playing field for compliant companies.

    A Ministry of Labour compliance program which ran from April 1, 2004 to
March 31, 2008, helped to reduce the rate of workplace injuries each year; by
the end of the program, the annual lost-time injury rate had dropped by 20 per
cent.
    During that period, workers avoided some 50,000 lost-time injuries, and
employers avoided about $5 billion in direct and indirect costs.

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                                                      ontario.ca/labour-news
                                                      Disponible en français
    





For further information:

For further information: Susan McConnell, Minister's Office, (416)
326-7710; Bruce Skeaff, Communications Branch, (416) 326-7405

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