The Construction and Design Alliance of Ontario (CDAO), which OSPE Chairs, represents a unified voice for the infrastructure sector, which includes trade, professional and industry associations. CDAO is calling on all employers, supervisors, workers and government to collaborate and work together to ensure the health and safety of all Ontarians.
CDAO created an industry best practice guide, gathering recommendations developed by leading health and safety experts in Ontario’s infrastructure sector, including engineers. Recommendations regarding social distancing, on-site sanitation and illness reporting were included.
“The health, safety and wellness of all our people has always been paramount to our members,” says Sandro Perruzza, CEO of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, and Chair of the Construction & Design Alliance of Ontario. “It is everyone’s responsibility to work in a manner that protects the health and safety of not only yourself, but of your fellow worker. These guidelines are your best bet to ensure that not only are you safe, but that you go back home to your family healthy at the end of the day”.
OSPE and CDAO have been in constant communication with government officials to ensure that construction sites, if required to remain open, are safe for all the individuals working in them.
OSPE is glad to note that the Honourable Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, announced on March 29, 2020 an updated guidance document to help employers and employees better understand their rights and responsibilities. It also informs them what can be done to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in construction sites.
The Guideline states that employers and constructors have obligations to protect workers from hazards in the workplace, as set out in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), and its regulations, as well as directives coming from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Workers should raise any concerns to their:
- joint health and safety committee
- health and safety representative
The document clearly states that
“Under Ontario law, employers have the duty to keep workers and work sites safe and free of hazards. Workers have the right to refuse unsafe work. If health and safety concerns are not resolved internally, a worker can seek enforcement by filing a complaint with the ministry’s Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008. Failure of the employer or constructor to comply with the OHSA and its regulations could result in a stop-work order upon inspection by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.”
Read the entire Chief Prevention Officer’s guidance document to the construction sector on health and safety related to COVID-19.
Sandro Perruzza, OSPE CEO thanks Minister McNaughton for his leadership and says that “OSPE is proud to work alongside our many colleagues at CDAO and other professionals who came together in times of crisis to provide guidance in the development of these new practices.”
OSPE will continue to advocate for responsible, safe construction site practices in Ontario during the COVID-19 crisis.
For more on COVID-19 and its affect on engineering in Ontario, visit our COVID-19 news page.