“Yesterday’s launch of an Advisory Group to assist the government in developing and implementing a Construction Health and Safety Action Plan is welcome news for Ontario’s construction workers,” said Patrick Dillon, Business Manager of the Provincial Building & Construction Trades Council of Ontario.
The aim of the Plan is to strengthen workplace injury and illness prevention for construction workers across the province. As part of the Advisory Group, worker and employer representatives will work with the Chief Prevention Officer to provide recommendations to the government on how to best promote and secure workplace health and safety. In 2013, 26 per cent of Ontario workplace deaths were in the construction industry, despite it only accounting for 7 per cent of the workforce.
“The continued number of construction workplace injuries and fatalities is unacceptable,” adding that the current system faces complex challenges.
“The best chance for success will have to entail close co-operation between workers, employers and government, but also a systemic shift in the way that health and safety is talked about, perceived, and acted upon,” said Dillon. “To achieve success, health and safety must be at the forefront of every project – from the procurement and design phase, to workforce preparation and training, to project completion, and at every step in between,” said Dillon, insisting that “ongoing worker intimidation fuels the continuation of traumatic incidents in the workplace.”
Building Trades Council President James Hogarth, who was appointed to the Advisory Group, echoed Dillon’s remarks: “Decisive action is needed based on sound evidence from what is happening in construction. I look forward to joining fellow industry colleagues as we embark on this urgent process that we hope will save lives,” said Hogarth.