Considering the size and diversity of this industry, Canada’s construction safety record is reasonably strong.
In recent years, employers and government have shown a marked commitment to construction safety.
Nevertheless, about 230 construction workers died a year in Canada between 2008 and 2010 as a result of workplace injuries.
And every year during the same period, an average 30,000 injuries requiring time off work were reported.
Everyone wants to do better. Nearly 230 deaths a year is too many – no matter which way you analyze it.
There are more challenges ahead – challenges that will put construction safety training and construction safety experts to the test.
Canada’s construction sector is set to become the 5th largest in the world, driven by global demand for our natural resources and the urgent need to modernize this country’s aging infrastructure.
By 2020, more than 200,000 skilled construction employees will retire from the work force, just as the industry creates another 100,000 new jobs.
This means that the construction sector will need to replace more than 20 percent of its current workforce over the next decade.
And a demand for hiring a whole new generation of construction workers, young workers, newcomers, temporary and contract employees from outside Canada – all presenting their own unique challenges to Canada’s construction safety culture.
Already, skilled construction workers are flocking to Canada from Spain, Germany, and France because our economy is so buoyant and the demand for their skills is here.
But many skilled newcomers need retraining – or bridge training – to bring them up to speed with Canadian building codes and standards. They will also need retraining in Canadian construction safety standards.
Young workers graduating from community colleges have some co-op experience. But they, too, need close supervision as they enter the work force, including on-the-job construction safety training and mentoring from experienced supervisors.
More private sector employers are recognizing that safety and production go hand-in-hand. Workplace safety has a demonstrably positive impact on the bottom line. It improves the efficiency of the industry.
When workplace safety is a top priority workers are more productive.
Contractors and subcontractors must also be kept up-to-speed on the latest construction safety standards.
This means communicating, sharing ideas, strategies and staying up-to-date on best practices so the entire industry can function at optimum safety and accidents and injuries can be prevented.
Workplace safety starts with you.
What are your major workplace safety problems? What safety issues matter to you?
We want to know what you think. We want to help.