It’s been 10 years since a Christmas Eve construction accident killed four migrant workers in Toronto, and while the tragedy pushed the province to make changes to workplace safety laws, experts are calling for a change in the culture on work sites.
Aleksey Blumberg, 32, Alexander Bondorev, 25, Fayzullo Fazilov, 31, and Vladimir Korostin, 40 — all recent immigrants from eastern Europe — were doing balcony repairs on a Toronto high-rise building when the swing-stage they were working on collapsed, plummeting some 30 metres to the ground.
Original Article: 10 Years After Construction Accident – Swing Stage Collapse
The article posted by the CBC gives a dive into the horrific swing stage accident that killed four workers, injured a fifth and left another scarred as a result of the accident in Toronto Ontario. The accident at the time was deemed to be the result of negligence by the employer to provide proper safety training to the workers.
A swing stage is a suspended platform used in construction to access the outside of buildings. It is suspended from cables from rooftops or other sound structural surfaces and requires specialized training and safety equipment to be used.
On the day of the incident workers hadn’t been trained properly in the use of the equipment nor had the proper safety equipment on. Four men fell to their death when the swing stage collapse.
Since then a number of new regulations have been implemented in Ontario including a new notice of project for suspended access work requiring all projects where swing stages are in use to notify the government. In addition to the notice the working at heights training required by all workers in Ontario has been extended to a full day course with a refresher requirement.
The article asks the question whether the new regulations are enough and reinforces the need to change the attitude of safety on construction sites.
Construction Is A Dangerous Business But It Doesn’t Need To Be
Historically construction has been a dangerous industry to work in. In addition to being dangerous construction has a reputation of a “tough guy” industry where often the workers on site are ridiculed if they come forward with concerns.
In this article Val Ratsch-Mazza a safety consultant sets out to make changes to the way concerns brought up on the jobsite are perceived. She encourages workers to bring to light issues and have them addressed in a pro-active manner.
While it’s great to see this being pushed onto the industry this is a change that is already happening. I have been a young member of the industry for the last 15 years and have seen significant changes. Joint health and safety meetings are being attended by younger people who care about their health and their safety. More people are less concerned with getting the work done quickly and more concerned about doing it safely and properly. This is a good thing.
While there is still a long way to go – with the introduction of technology in construction there are even more opportunities for employees to report problems. With intelligent machine learning able to analyze photos of construction sites for safety issues it’s only a matter of time before safety issues become part of an automated process.
Unfortunately, there will always be small contractors who jeopardize safety over schedule. Have you run into those contractors? How has it affected your business?