July 18, 2015 by STAFF REPORT
The Ontario Ministry of Labour has released its updated construction sector safety action plan designed to raise awareness about, and increase compliance with, Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations.
The Construction Sector Plan outlines the ministry’s enforcement initiatives and identifies what inspectors will be looking for. Every year the MOL holds consultations to shape and improve its occupational health and safety compliance strategy and build closer partnerships with its stakeholders.
• help the ministry to improve its approach to better meet the public’s needs
• provide an opportunity to learn from the ministry’s partners
• obtain feedback on how the program is working
• increase support for new directions and
• identify areas for improvement.
The Construction Sector Plan for 2015-2016 describes sector-specific hazards and compliance issues, and the MOL’s enforcement focus for inspections in construction sub-sectors. The plan also acknowledges recent changes to the OHSA that will impact:
• occupational health and safety
• workplace parties and
• the ministry’s enforcement practices.
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), “construction” is defined to include erection, alteration, repair, dismantling, demolition, structural maintenance, painting, land clearing, earth moving, grading, excavating, trenching, digging, boring, drilling, blasting or concreting, the installation of any machinery or plant, and any work or undertaking in connection with a project (excluding any work or undertaking underground in a mine).
“Project” is also defined in section 1 of the act. Construction inspectors enforce the OHSA and its regulations at construction projects across the province. As part of the Safe At Work Ontario strategy, they focus on specific construction sectors where there are high injury rates, history of non-compliance, and known workplace hazards. They will also continue to confirm/verify overall compliance with the OHSA and its regulations. Inspectors are not limited to inspecting for contraventions/non-compliance identified in this document, and will exercise their discretion in taking appropriate enforcement action at each workplace inspected.