A blitz of tower crane inspections across the province last year resulted in 245 orders and 15 stop work orders being issued to contractors and owners.

The figures were released recently by the Ministry of Labour (MOL).

Inspectors checked more than 30 construction projects in the Greater Toronto and Niagara areas last June. They checked that tower cranes were erected and inspected properly, maintained in good condition and safely operated.

The month before the field visits, ministry inspectors and engineers met with 30 owners and suppliers of tower cranes to ensure they understood their responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the Regulations for Construction Projects.

Of the 245 orders that were issued:

  • 32 orders (13 per cent) were for violations involving tower crane erection, inspections and testing;
  • 32 orders (13 per cent) were for fall protection violations;
  • 17 orders (seven per cent) were for electrical safety violations; and
  • 10 orders (four per cent) were for fire safety violations.

The 15 stop work orders were issued for serious health and safety concerns that presented an immediate danger to workers.

The last tower crane inspection blitz was in 2007. Inspectors visited 120 project sites between April and September that year and issued 1,415 orders, including 151 stop work orders.

The MOL says the fact that fewer orders were written in the 2011 blitz period indicates a trend towards improvement in health and safety compliance.

The condition of tower cranes in Ontario is a concern as there have been a number of serious incidents at construction sites in recent years.

The MOL says inspectors will continue to inspect tower cranes at construction projects and industrial establishments such as shipping yards and pre-cast concrete operations.