Summer blitz targets trench hazards

Ontario will conduct a two-month enforcement blitz focusing on hazards that can arise when workers construct trenches for installation or repair of utilities or sewers.

In July and August, Ministry of Labour inspectors will visit various construction projects where trenches are being excavated across Ontario. Inspectors will check for hazards that could result in worker injuries or death. This includes checking that employers are taking appropriate action to assess and address these hazards and are complying with Ontario’s occupational health and safety laws.

In particular, inspectors will focus on:

  • trench work notification to the Ministry of Labour
  • trench wall supportidentification, location and marking of utilities before work is undertaken
  • measures to prevent slips, trips and falls by workers

“Construction workers can be at serious risk if soil collapses, debris falls or workers fall into trenches. We are working to prevent these types of hazards. Employers, labour groups, workers and others must all play a role in preventing injury and death at Ontario construction workplaces,” says George Gritziotis, Chief Prevention Officer.

Between 2008 and 2014, 17 workers died and 42 workers were critically injured in excavation and trenching incidents at construction projects in Ontario.

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