Every workplace has hazards. However, there are hazards that are more common depending on which sector your workplace falls under. This month, we are featuring the Construction Sector, and discussing some hazards common to that sector, to give Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSC) an edge when it comes to spotting and controlling hazards during their monthly workplace inspections, and making recommendations to the employer.
Falls are the primary cause of critical injury and death in Ontario workplaces. O.Reg 213/91 s.26 states that all workers exposed to a fall hazard must be protected. Guardrails, fall arrest equipment, and training are the top three measures that protect workers from fall hazards. As a JHSC member, look carefully at guardrails to ensure that they are properly erected and will protect workers. Check for records of inspection for all fall arrest and restraint systems. Obvious signs of wear and tear or damage need to be noted during inspections. If training hasn’t been completed or is out-dated, make a recommendation that this is completed before work commences. For information about the new Working at Heights training requirement, click here.
Ladders and Scaffolds
The JHSC inspects worksites monthly and should take special care to look at scaffold set-up and ladder use during inspections. It’s important the JHSC note if a scaffold would be a safer option where a ladder is currently being used. Records of pre-use ladder inspections can also be reviewed. If they aren’t completed, the JHSC needs to note this as a potential hazard and make a recommendation to the employer that a policy is put in place. JHSC inspections can also look at the condition of ladders and scaffolds to ensure good working order, no damage/alterations, and proper use.
Fire Safety is important at all workplaces – especially construction sites, where there are more hazards and flammable materials compared to other sectors. JHSC members should be looking for 100% adherence to the fire code during inspections. Click here to review the fire code in Ontario. During inspections, ensure that all extinguishers are visible, easily accessible, and well maintained.
Lack of Training
Perhaps the most common hazard found on construction sites is lack of training. JHSC members can work with their employer to implement a training program that meets industry requirements and legislative standards. JHSC members may ask random workers on construction sites to produce wallet cards to prove that training is up-to-date, or they may ask workers to demonstrate a health and safety skill or show that they are competent operating a machine. If a JHSC member isn’t satisfied, a recommendation for training or re-training can be made to the employer.
Falls, ladders and scaffolds, fire hazards, and lack of training aren’t the only hazards you’ll find on a construction site. There are many other hazards that the JHSC needs to be mindful of. From ergonomics to dangerous chemicals to noise and air quality, JHSC members in every sector need to remain cognizant of hazards in their work environment and feel confident in identifying and controlling them.
OSG Has Been Certifying JHSC Members For Over 20 Years
If you have questions about how to identify common hazards in the construction sector or anything else regarding occupational health and safety, OSG can help. We have been successfully training JHSC members for over 20 years, and we are the largest private provider of JHSC committee certification training in Ontario. When it comes to JHSC – we know our stuff! Call 1.800.815.9980 to speak to one of our health and safety experts today, or view our JHSC Part 1 or Part 2 training online now.
Written by Jennifer Miller | Curriculum Development Coordinator
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