‘Employers and constructors should know: failure to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations could result in a stop-work order’
Ontario's Chief Prevention Officer announced updated guidance to help construction employers better understand their responsibilities and what is needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the job site.
The guidance calls on employers to provide better on-site sanitation, including a focus on high-touch areas like site trailers, door handles and hoists; and to enable greater distances between workers by staggering shifts, restricting site numbers and limiting elevator usage.
Ontario also wants construction employers to communicate roles, responsibilities, and health and safety policies, by, for example, posting site sanitization schedules and work schedules; and to protect public health by tracking and monitoring workers.
"The health and safety of construction workers is a top priority for our government. With the COVID-19 situation changing day by day, we are working to ensure that workers have the tools they need to help keep job sites safe,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development. “We must do everything possible to fight the spread of this disease.”
The government also reminded employers that, under Ontario law, employers must take every reasonable precaution to keep workers safe. Workers also have the right to refuse unsafe work.
If health and safety concerns are not resolved internally, a worker can file a complaint with the ministry's Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008.
“Ministry inspectors are inspecting job sites today and every day. Employers and constructors should know: failure to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations could result in a stop-work order,” according to the government. “Keeping job sites open during the current pandemic requires a heightened focus on health and safety.”