On-Site Magazine

Summer inspection blitz targets construction trench hazards

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July 14, 2015 by STAFF REPORT

Ontario labour inspectors target trench safety
Ontario labour inspectors target trench safety

Ontario is currently conducting a two-month enforcement blitz focusing on hazards that can arise when workers construct trenches for installation or repair of utilities or sewers.

During July and August, Ministry of Labour inspectors will visit various construction projects where trenches are being excavated across Ontario. Inspectors will check for hazards that could result in worker injuries or death. This includes checking that employers are taking appropriate action to assess and address these hazards and are complying with Ontario’s occupational health and safety laws.

“Construction workers can be at serious risk if soil collapses, debris falls or workers fall into trenches. We are working to prevent these types of hazards,” says George Gritziotis, Ontario Chief Prevention Officer. “Employers, labour groups, workers and others must all play a role in preventing injury and death at Ontario construction workplaces.”

In particular, inspectors will focus on:

    • Trench work notification to the Ministry of Labour
    • Trench wall support
    • Iidentification, location and marking of utilities before work is undertaken
    • Measures to prevent slips, trips and falls by workers

Between 2008 and 2014, 17 workers died and 42 workers were critically injured in trenching and excavation incidents at Ontario construction projects. All workers have the right to refuse unsafe work under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Workers can report unsafe work to the Ministry of Labour any time by calling the Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008.

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