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Heated Construction Washrooms

The Construction regulations state that construction washrooms shall be heated 'if that is possible'.


The term 'if that is possible' leaves some contractors to believe it is optional, but not so fast... The MOL will take into consideration if you have a heated site trailer or availability of electricity in order to determine if heat is possible.


Washroom trailers are really the way to go to have happier workers who will likely produce better work. As a worker, if I have to sit in a freezing cold plastic box I will drive to the nearest public washroom at my employers expense. Cold in the kidneys is no fun health matter for any worker to deal with.


The MOL has indicated they use the OASIS Ontario guideline of 10 degrees Celsius as considered at minimum an adequate amount heat.



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4 Hour Working at Heights Classes

I hear 4 and 5 hour working at heights classes are sneaking back in the training system.


You have been doing this for years, you know it all, right? I know its boring, or, these people weren't meant to be in a class room for a full day. Some of the comments I have heard by some trainers who cave to workers pressuring them to speed up the class and get them out early.


In reality many workers have never been properly trained about; guardrails, floor covers, travel restraint, what is a fall restriction system, how to properly wear and adjust a harness, how high does the tie off anchor have to be to make sure I don't hit the ground or floor below? These are all good questions and ones that need to be covered in working at heights training in order to be successful and reduce the number of construction deaths.


Case in point, I had an experience several years ago on a high rise project, where I saw most of the experienced workers not wearing their harness properly. After some encouragement, I finally convinced the site supervisor to shut down the job for 1/2  hour and allow me to perform a safety talk for all workers on site, regarding how to don a harness. With approx 60 workers in attendance, some new and a couple of workers who had been working in construction for over 50 years. The first consensus among most workers was, what is this guy going to tell me that I don't already know? Well to my surprise after the safety talk, two of the 50 year workers approached me, shook my hand and thanked me for the instructions, they said, "in 50 years in construction, nobody ever showed them how to properly don a harness."


I think If the trainer makes the session dynamic and steers away from boring, workers can handle sitting for a whole day on a relevant topic that will help prevent injury or possibly kill them..

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Read The Words Carefully

What I am referring to is construction regulation 26.1(2)


(2) Despite subsection (1), if it is not practicable to install a guardrail system as that subsection requires, a worker shall be adequately protected by the highest ranked method that is practicable from the following ranking of fall protection methods:



Practicable is the word that allot of people are a mis-interpreting for practical.


Practical means; sensible, useful, easiest for the situation,


Practicable simply means 'that is possible'


Therefore in the regulations we cannot simply choose the easiest or most practical method on the list, we must choose the highest ranked method that is possible regardless of difficulty, if guardrails can be installed, they must be installed.

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Some people are still stuck in the good ole days. What I mean by that is, once upon a time a person's word was a person's intregrity and if you asked for verification, it meant you didn't believe the person, and if you didn't believe the person, you are calling the person a liar. That old school mentality has to change and can take up to another generation or two, to come around to what is really needed for a due diligence defence to be effective.


Example, I recently had a situation with an individual, where I had to verify certain equipment was in place as per the regulations. Prior to the scheduled meeting, I believed I was going to find everything was in place, but as the safety coordinator, I am required by law to exercise my 'due diligence' by verifying and documenting that the equipment was in fact in place and in compliance. The individual I was dealing with, as professional as they appeared, turned out to have an old school mentality and had a really big chip on their shoulder for being made to display the equipment for verification, and they actually said, "I should have taken their word that they had all the equipment".


This clearly showed me that the individual I was dealing with did not have a real understanding of 'proof of due diligence.' The documentation I was writing up with details of their equipment, was my proof of "due diligence" or that I took 'reasonable care'  by verifying and documenting that the equipment was in compliance, and I can't just make that up out of thin air, or by taking a person's word like the good ole day's.....

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Kevin Carey
October 6, 2019
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