Health and Safety

  • Martin Benson posted an article
    Ministry Of Labour Health and Safety Research Grant Program on Hold see more

    The Occupation Health, Safety and Prevention Innovation Program and Research Opportunities Program are currently on hold and not accepting applications.  The Ministry of Labour is reviewing its grants programs and will provide additional information once the review is complete. Updates on the programs will also be available on the MoL website.  

     

  • Martin Benson posted an article
    New Voluntary Health & Safety Rep Basic Training Guidelines and eLearning Program Available see more

    The Ministry of Labour in collaboration with its health and safety system partners has developed a voluntary one-day Health and Safety Representative (HSR) Training Guidelines and eLearning program designed to provide foundational knowledge to help HSRs perform their legislated duties.  The guidelines are posted on the MoL website and the eLearning module will be available on the IHSA’a website.  The goal is to help small businesses (with 6 to 19 workers) improve their workplace health and safety.   For more details click on https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/pubs/hsr_program_guideline.php 

  • Martin Benson posted an article
    COCA Meets With New Chief Prevention Officer see more

    On Monday, April 30, COCA’s WSIB-OH&S Committee chair Paul Gunning and President Ian Cunningham met with the Ministry of Labour’s recently appointed Chief Prevention Officer, Ron Kelusky.  We described the unique nature of construction projects and the complexities of health and safety management on construction projects and the CPO listened intently and asked thoughtful questions and appeared eager to learn.  We asked about the recommendations made by Tony Dean in his Expert Panel Report and Kelusky went through them one-by-one, those completed and those yet-to-be-completed. 

    We asked about the status of the Construction Health and Safety Action Plan, Accreditation, mandatory entry-level training for construction.  We learned that the Prevention Office is in the early stages of developing its second five-year integrated health and safety strategy.  Paul Gunning spoke passionately about taking health and safety to the next level by intensifying the elementary school health and safety curriculum in order to help young students develop the right attitudes.  The CPO talked about getting better data and identifying common causes of incidents. 

    We found Ron to be bright, knowledgeable, passionate, open minded, eager to learn, eager to share his ideas and eager to work together to really make a difference.  We look forward to working with him to that end.

  • Martin Benson posted an article
    Hats off to Safety Champion Craig Lesurf for Safety Week see more

    Hats off to Craig Lesurf, Vice President and Business Group Leader at Walsh Canada and Past Chair of the TCA, for leading the charge on Safety Week.  Craig organized and hosted a number of Safety Week events at Walsh Canada project sites and mobilized a number of other construction companies to do the same.  Craig hosted the launch of Safety Week at the Etobicoke Hospital construction site which attracted many senior construction executives and about 300 workers. 

    He also spoke passionately about the need to invest in health and safety and about the fact that health and safety is the responsibility of everyone on a construction worksite.  Craig is all about generating results and doesn’t care who claims the credit.  It’s all about saving lives and eliminating injuries.  Great job Craig!

  • Martin Benson posted an article
    Support Steps for Life see more

    Every working day, 3 Canadian families will receive the news that a loved one is not returning home from work that day. Their families, friends and co-workers will rally together to be there for one another.

    The Association for Workplace Tragedy Family Support, known as Threads of Life, supports the healing journey of families who have suffered from a workplace fatality, traumatic life-altering injury, or occupational disease.

    In order to do this, every year Threads of Life hosts its flagship fundraiser – Steps for Life. A fun, 5km walk that aims to educate the community about the devastating ripple effects of each workplace tragedy and how we can work together to prevent others being injured or killed on the job.

    We encourage all construction associations and all construction companies to support the Steps for Life walk by volunteering to help organize the Steps for Life walk in your area, by entering an Association or Company TEAM in the walk, by participating in the walk or by sponsoring a walker. 

    The schedule of walks is as follows:

    • Barrie-Midland May 5, 2018
    • Durham Region May 6, 2018
    • Hamilton – Niagara  May 6, 2018
    • Kingston April 28, 2018
    • Mississauga – Region of Peel May 12, 2018
    • Ottawa  May 5, 2018
    • Sarnia May 5, 2018
    • Sudbury  May 5, 2018
    • Timmins  May 12, 2018
    • Toronto  April 29, 2018

    For more information, click on the following link:  http://events.threadsoflife.ca/site/PageNavigator/steps_for_life_landing.html

  • Martin Benson posted an article
    New CPO Meets with the Provincial Committee see more

    The Province’s new Chief Prevention Officer Ron Kalusky met with the Provincial Labour Management Health and Safety Committee at its monthly meeting on April 4th.  Noting that he was only four weeks on the job and still, in learning mode, he made the following comments:

    • He has worked in public health where he has seen the positive impact of root cause analysis
    • The Prevention Office’s mining review uncovered three or four common root causes of incidents and this will contribute to better health and safety performance
    • He is looking for an opportunity to make a genuine difference, to have an impact
    • The 2016/17 report was released recently and it contains some alarming results
    • he expects to have the 2017 18 report out in the first quarter of 2019
    • the Construction Health and Safety Action Plan is moving ahead and making progress
    • he wants to maintain the relevance of the Prevention Council and make it more successful
    • the Prevention Office is at the tail end of its first 5-year strategy
    • every stakeholder will be engaged in the development of the next long-range strategy that will drive the system and be measureable
    • he sees his job as helping make things happen

    Kalusky is impressive, an experienced and results-oriented executive and it looks like he has what it takes to drive improved performance and better outcomes for our province’s health and safety system.  

  • Martin Benson posted an article
    National Day of Mourning – A Time to Remember and Recommit see more

    April 28th has been designated as the National Day of Mourning.  Ceremonies will be held in cities and towns across Canada to remember those who have lost their lives as a result of workplace accidents or occupational disease.  These ceremonies are also a time to renew the commitment to improve health and safety in the workplace and prevent further injuries, illnesses and deaths.

    While Ontario’s construction industry is safe when compared statistically with other jurisdictions, statistics are just numbers and one fatality is one fatality too many.  A fatality leaves a family, a workplace and a community scarred for life. 

    According to the Ministry of Labour’s most recent report to the Provincial Labour Management Health and Safety Committee, there were 7 fatalities in the construction industry for the period January 16, 2018, to March 15, 2018, versus 2 fatalities for the same period the previous year.  We can and must do better. 

    Please attend the Day of Mourning ceremony in your community, remember those who have lost their lives and recommit to making your workplace safer.

  • Martin Benson posted an article
    National Strategy Summit takes on construction industry’s biggest challenges see more

    Ontario Construction Report - All sectors of Canada’s construction and maintenance industry, including owners, contractors, labour and government, came together today at BuildForce Canada’s second National Industry Strategy Summit to move forward on a national strategy to build a sustainable, competitive workforce by improving safety, productivity and workforce retention.

    There was strong agreement that safety, productivity improvements, and workforce recruitment and retention issues are of paramount importance to the competitiveness of Canada’s construction and maintenance industry.

    “Keeping our industry strong and competitive requires all elements of the construction industry to collaborate and share best practices,” said BuildForce Canada chair Christina Taylor. “As an organization we’re proud of the leading role we play in bringing industry together in this unique forum to discuss these issues and map out strategies to overcome these challenges.”

    Read more.

  • Martin Benson posted an article
    Many Ontario workers exposed to cancer-causing hazards: report see more

    Canadian Manufacturing -  TORONTO—Thousands of Ontario workers are exposed to cancer-causing hazards in the workplace.

    This is according to a new report released Oct. 4 by Cancer Care Ontario (CCO), the provincial government’s advisor on cancer care and prevention, and its partner, the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC).

    The report cites several carcinogens Ontario workers are exposed to which it argues are leading to cancer cases:

    Asbestos: Fewer than 55,000 workers are exposed to asbestos, but the report finds it is the cause of approximately 630 lung cancers, 140 mesotheliomas, 15 laryngeal cancers and less than five ovarian cancers annually in Ontario. Most occupational exposure occurs in construction, primarily due to the maintenance, renovation and modification of existing public, residential and commercial buildings.

    Diesel engine exhaust exposure: According to the report, exposure to diesel engine exhaust affects about 301,000 workers and accounts for an estimated 170 lung and 45 bladder cancer cases each year. The burden is highest in the mining sector, as well as transportation and warehousing.

    Silica: The report finds 142,000 Ontario workers are exposed to fine crystalline silica dusts, primarily in the construction, manufacturing and mining sectors, which causes almost 200 lung cancer cases each year.

    “Occupational exposures are associated with a substantial and often overlooked burden of cancer in Ontario. These cancers are almost entirely preventable,” said Dr. Paul Demers, director, Occupational Cancer Research Centre.

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  • Martin Benson posted an article
    Doctor talks workplace cannabis impact at symposium see more

    Daily Commercial News - Just because something is legal and authorized by a doctor, doesn’t mean it’s safe, especially in a safety sensitive job.

    That was the message from Dr. Melissa Snider-Adler at the Cannabis in Construction Symposium hosted recently by the Residential Construction Council of Ontario and the Ontario General Contractors Association.

    Snider-Adler is the chief medical review officer for DriverCheck Inc. which performs drug testing for companies in Canada. She informed the crowd about the potential impacts of marijuana in the workplace with the legalization of cannabis slated for July 1, 2018.

    "It really is your responsibility to ensure a safe workplace and ensure that your employees, even those who are using substances, are safe," said Snider-Adler. "There have been cases where employers have been found criminally negligent because they did not deal with the issues and ensure that their workplace is safe. You have to balance both the duty to accommodate versus the duty to provide a safe environment."

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  • Martin Benson posted an article
    Ontario’s marijuana framework receives mixed reviews see more

    Daily Commercial News - Key players in the construction industry say one important element is still missing with the Ontario government’s recently released cannabis framework — giving employers the tools they need to maintain health and safety on the jobsite.

    The federal Liberals are planning to legalize marijuana by July 2018 and Ontario is the first province in Canada to publicly announce a comprehensive plan to regulate federally legalized cannabis.

    David Frame, director of government relations for the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA), who has been involved in consultations at the provincial level, said while the government has recognized there is a health and safety issue in the workplace, there is still a long way to go.

    Read more.

  • Martin Benson posted an article
    dailycommercialnews.com/en-US/OH... see more

    Daily Commercial News - The most recent Council of Ontario Construction Associations (COCA) newsletter reports that falls continue to be a major cause of workplace injury in the construction sector. 

    COCA notes that in his report to the Provincial Labour-Management Health and Safety Committee, the provincial co-ordinator for the Ministry of Labour's (MOL) Construction Health and Safety Program, Brian Barron, recorded injury and fatality statistics reflecting the MOL's recently expanded definition of "critical injury." The new definition captures more types of injuries than the previous definition, so a comparison of current data with last year's is not a true comparison, indicated the source.

    There was one fatality in the month of May. It occurred when a worker fell approximately 25 feet while working on the trusses of a barn.

    There have been seven fatalities in the construction industry in the first five months of 2017 versus only four last year, reports the MOL.

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  • Martin Benson posted an article
    Province to Prioritize Public Health, Road Safety and Harm Prevention see more

    Ministry of the Attorney General - The province is asking for your thoughts on how Ontario should approach cannabis legalization in a way that protects youth, prevents harm and ensures that Ontario's roads continue to be among the safest in North America.

    In April 2017, the federal government introduced the Cannabis Act, which, if passed, will legalize and regulate cannabis across Canada by July 2018. The federal plan calls on the provinces and territories to establish a framework to regulate the distribution, sale and consumption of cannabis, among other matters.

    Starting today, people across the province can have their say on important decisions related to the legalization of cannabis by participating in an online survey. Individuals and organizations will also be able to give their input by completing a consultation paper. To participate, visit ontario.ca/cannabis before July 31.

    Read more.

  • Martin Benson posted an article
    More Fatalities in 2018 see more

    At the monthly meeting of the Provincial Labour – Management Health and Safety Committee on May 2nd, the Ministry of Labour’s Acting Provincial Co-ordinator for the Construction Health and Safety Program, Jean Justa, reported the following for the period January 1 to April 15, 2018:

    • There were 8 fatalities in the construction industry versus 6 in the same period in the year prior; 6 of those fatalities were the result of falls; 4 were in single family residential, 1 in multi-res, 1 in industrial and 2 in commercial
    • There were 49 critical injuries versus 59 in 2017; too many were the result of falls

    Since April 15th there have been several additional construction fatalities.  If the current trajectory continues, 2018 will go down as he worst year for health and safety in a long time.

  • Martin Benson posted an article
    Ontario adopting 16 recommendations to prevent injuries, fatalities in construction see more

    Canadian Occupational Safety - Ontario is helping to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities for workers on construction sites across the province through the implementation of its Construction Health and Safety Action Plan.

    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 on sites of all sizes across the province.

    “Construction deaths continue to be unacceptably high. We are committed to preventing tragedy so construction workers can go home safe and sound at the end of each work day. To do this, we must all work together. We all have a role and responsibility to make our workplaces healthy and safe,” said Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn.

    Through these recommendations the government and its safety partners are working to develop online tools, apps and web portals to provide easy access to construction health and safety information such as key hazards.

    Read more.