The provincial Ministry of Labour reports that fatalities on Ontario construction sites declined in 2012 over the previous year.

There were 13 people killed on sites last year, significantly less than the 22 deaths that occurred in 2011.

It is the lowest number of fatalities ever recorded in a year since the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board began keeping such data.

The figures were reported on Jan. 9 at a meeting of the Provincial Labour Management Health and Safety Committee.

While fatalities were down, though, the same can’t be said of critical injuries.

There were 141 workers critically injured on construction sites in 2012, compared to 134 in 2011.

In December alone, there were 12 critical injuries. Four were caught or pinned by equipment, one was struck by equipment, six were fall-related and one suffered burns from an electrical hazard.

Of the 12 criticals, five occurred in the residential sector, three in the commercial building sector, one in the institutional sector, one in the utilities sector, one in the industrial, commercial, institutional sector and one in the demolition sector.

The Ministry of Labour noted there is still much work to be done to improve the health and safety performance of the construction industry and to ensure every worker returns home safely every night of the week.

The Ministry is in the process of hiring approximately 18 new inspectors.