Inspectors from the Ontario Ministry of Labour will be targeting tower and mobile cranes during a safety blitz of construction sites in July and August.

The inspectors will be checking for hazards involving tower and mobile cranes that could result in injury or death to workers as well as the public.

During the blitzes, inspectors will check on maintenance of equipment, worker training, the use of safety equipment and other potential health and safety hazards to help prevent workplace injuries.

The blitzes are part of Ontario’s enforcement strategy to increase compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations. As part of the blitz, a team of more than 25 inspectors will visit construction sites that use tower and mobile cranes. The inspectors have received special training and will climb each tower crane that they inspect.

Inspectors will be looking at:

  • Tower Crane Maintenance and Other Records: Inspectors will check for records on the condition of the tower crane, before and after erection, and ensure that design drawings for the installation of a tower crane were done by a professional engineer. Inspectors will also check that tower cranes were properly inspected prior to first use, and regularly inspected and maintained afterwards. Meanwhile, inspectors will review logbook entries to ensure operational functions, such as limit and overload limit switches, were properly tested.
  • Mobile Crane Maintenance and Other Records: Inspectors will check for records such as the operator logbook and operator manual. They will also check that cranes were inspected and maintained as required.
  • Training: Inspectors will check that mobile crane operators are certified to operate a crane at a construction site or are being instructed in crane operation and accompanied by a person who has the required certification.
  • Various Other Issues: Inspectors will check on the structural, mechanical and foundational integrity of cranes, safety system, setup, proximity to people and safe hoisting practices.

The labour ministry says appropriate enforcement action will be taken for any violations of the Act and its regulations.

Between 2007 and 2011, one worker died and seven workers were seriously injured in tower and mobile crane incidents at construction sites across Ontario.

Of the crane injury incidents, four were related to tower cranes and three were related to mobile cranes.

The injuries resulted from incidents such as a:

  • Tower crane striking scaffolding that caused a worker to fall;
  • A worker being struck by a piece of material that was being hoisted; and
  • A worker being pinned under a load that was being lowered to the ground.

Close calls in which no one was injured involved a(n):

  • Tower crane breaking into two;
  • Tower crane tipping over;
  • Rigging failure; and
  • Uncontrolled descent of material that landed in a busy traffic intersection

Labour Minister Linda Jeffrey said health and safety of Ontario workers is a priority.

“For their sake and their families, we want to make sure every employer, employee and supervisor is well aware of the hazards of working in pits and quarries and at construction sites, and knows how to avoid them.”

Ontario Chief Prevention Officer George Gritziotis said workers can be seriously injured or killed by hazards in workplaces.

“We’re working to improve health and safety and prevent injuries and deaths at Ontario’s construction sites,” he said.