Last week, the Ministry of Labour’s Chief Prevention Officer Ron Kelusky toured Friday Harbour on Big Bay Point in Innisfil and a second workplace at Grand Cornell Brownstones 2 – a Markham townhome development by Lindvest.
Friday Harbour is a massive, all-seasons Lake Simcoe development and the brainchild of the Geranium Corporation. The one-of-a-kind project boasts a central marina village; berths for up to 1,000 boats; an 18-hole golf course; a 200-acre nature preserve; walkable streets with boutique shops and restaurants.
I had the privilege of shepherding Mr. Ron Kelusky around both clients’ projects on behalf of Tickner and Associates, along with the Friday Harbour’s site superintendent, Andrew White and his counterpart at Lindvest, Todd White. The focal point of the visits was all about information-sharing, including but not limited to the importance of worker engagement in occupational safety and health management initiatives.
Andrew White said Mr. Kelusky’s visit generated valuable feedback, noting the CPO’s underlying theme was the importance of protecting the health and safety of workers.
Earlier in the day, we dropped in on another client’s project, Lindvest’s townhome development at Ninth Line and Hwy.7.
During his visits, Mr. Kelusky said construction workplaces have consistently reported an unacceptable number of injuries, however the overall injury rate is decreasing. He said jobsite safety meetings, commonly referred to as toolbox talks, are paramount in helping promote a culture of safety and ongoing compliance among work crews. Mr. Kelusky wants to get that message out that safety matters – fall protection remains the top infraction in construction.
Placing greater emphasis on a five-to-10-minute safety talk each day prior to work is paramount. It has been said that when workers actively engage in communicating safety hazards, i.e. Working at Heights, proper use of ladders etc., and work together to identify suitable injury-prevention measures, superior safety performance can be achieved.
The CPO’s office has ushered in a new era of rationale, driven by developing safety solutions based on the latest research and evidence – a science and data-based approach to mitigating risk.
“Understanding the major causes and circumstances surrounding injury and illness and focusing on training and awareness for both the worker and the supervisor will go a long way in reducing if not eliminating those injuries and illnesses,” Mr. Kelusky said.
Two potential solutions are for employers to seek out suitable safety professionals and mentors to provide lifelong skills and relationships to new and young construction workers and placing greater emphasis on worksite supervision and instruction.
A Fall from Heights Fatalities Analysis report prepared for the CPO’s office on December 2018, reviewed 92 fall from height fatality events that occurred from 2009 to 2016 (excluding slips, trips, staircases).
The report involved reviewing and extracting information from files prepared by ministry inspectors about fatal injuries to better understand contributing factors and circumstances around falls from heights.