Blitz To Focus On Concrete Formwork On Construction Sites

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                                                                                  Ministry of Labour

      Blitz To Focus On Concrete Formwork On Construction Sites

                                                                                     July 31, 2009

Erecting and dismantling concrete forms on building construction sites is a major source of lost
time injuries in Ontario with more than double the average rate of other construction work.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board records for the 2008 calendar year show that, across
the construction industry in Ontario, there were 2.08 lost time injuries reported for every 100 full-
time equivalent workers. The rate for demolition and formwork was 5.57.

Two traumatic fatalities this year have been attributed to high-rise forming operations.

The focus of the blitz by Ministry of Labour inspectors in August will be on the hazards
associated with the design, erection and dismantling of formwork used in the placement of

Falls, contact with overhead power lines, excavation collapses and being struck or crushed by
equipment and material have caused most of the injuries. The blitz will focus heavily on fall
hazards with zero tolerance in situations where workers are unprotected by a fall protection

Stop work orders will be issued when there is imminent danger to workers.

When inspectors encounter formwork that has not been inspected, and there appears to be no
immediate risk to workers, inspectors will issue a short-time order for the employer/constructor
to comply.

Inspectors will be guided by an audit checklist, starting with any documentation required at the
project. They will note contraventions and will discuss workers’ safety concerns with them or
with their representative.

Safe At Work Ontario

Among the identification criteria for workplaces to be inspected are injury rates and associated
costs, compliance history, hazards inherent to the work, specific events or incidents (e.g., critical
or fatal injuries, or violence), and the presence of new and⁄or vulnerable workers.

Sector and hazard specific inspection blitzes are an important feature of the
Safe At Work Ontario 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
    reduce the burden on the health care system
    avoid costs for employers and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and
    provide a level playing field for compliant companies.

Safe At Work Ontario builds on the success of the Ministry of Labour four-year compliance
program ran until March 31, 2008, which, by the last year, had helped to reduce the annual rate
of workplace injury by 20 per cent.

Because of the decline in the annual rate of lost-time injuries, employers have avoided about
$5 billion in direct and indirect costs during the four years ending March 31, 2008. About 50,000
injuries were prevented. Fewer injuries have lightened the strain on the province’s health care
system and enhanced workplace productivity.

Susan McConnell, Minister’s Office, 416-326-7710           
Bruce Skeaff, Communications Branch, 416-326-7405                           Disponible en français