In Saskatchewan, safety officials are examining serious problems with fall safety at residential construction sites throughout the province. Their Occupational Health and Safety Division (OHS) took a look at the results of inspections conducted on such sites in 2015 and found a startling lack of compliance with OHS regulations.
For example, during two stepped up inspection campaigns last year, they only found 41 percent compliance with regulations regarding the covering of openings into which a worker could step or fall. When it came to providing barriers for open shafts, they found only 20 per cent compliance. Only 48 per cent of sites were compliant with regarding the wearing of protective headgear, only 41 per cent used fall protection and only 50 percent of workers had even been trained with regard to an effective fall protection plan.
That’s why WorkSafe Saskatchewan is now engaged in a campaign to remind those contractors engaged in home building and renovation to pay closer attention to problems such as these. Based on the 2015 Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) Annual Report, construction trades helpers and labourers made 775 accepted claims, which was the fourth-highest number in the province.
That’s also why OHS will be stepping up inspections at residential construction sites for the rest of the summer and throughout the fall. They plan to focus on the most dangerous and pressing compliance issues in residential construction, including uncovered openings and failure to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and fall protection equipment. If your residential construction worksite isn’t up to standards, contractors can expect to be hit with fines and possibly even stop-work orders, so be prepared.