Scaffolding Tops Top-10 Construction Hazards


Don’t fear the Ministry of Labour (MOL) inspector.

While it can be a bit intimidating to subject your construction site to such in-depth scrutiny, having an MOL inspector drop in to your workplace should be treated as a litmus test for your efforts to maintain a safe work environment.

After all, they have seen it all – good and bad.

Recently,  the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) spoke to Michael Chappell, Provincial Co-ordinator for the MOL Construction Health and Safety Program and, with his help, put together a top-10 list of the most common construction-hazards MOL inspectors find on construction sites.

Chappell told the IHSA that the main hazards they see on construction sites have remained the same for years.

“There’s been an improvement in how often we encounter these hazards, but the same things are still occurring,” he says.

When asked what needs to happen to improve health and safety on construction sites, Mr. Chappell highlighted supervision.

Supervisors need to be more hands on. My experience with supervisors is that they are technically very good at their job in terms of getting something built correctly and getting it done. When they rely on workers who are also highly skilled, they allow them to work with a love level of supervision. Obviously, this isn’t producing the results for safety.”

Mr. Chappell explains that “in a factory environment with 100 workers, you would see at least 10 supervisors walking around. In construction, you may have one or two.” One supervisor may be responsible for two or three similar jobs and must split time between them.

“Fundamentally,” he says, “the industry needs to think about how they supervise this work.”

Reproduced with permission from the (Vol. 16 issue 2)