New standards come into force on construction sites

After years of waiting, the Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST) has implemented new safety measures for construction sites which came into effect on January 1.

New standards come into force on construction sites

After years of waiting, the Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST) has implemented new safety measures for construction sites which came into effect on January 1.

“These are measures that have been provided for in the Occupational Health and Safety Act since 1979, underlined the vice-president of CSN-Construction, Félix Ferland. It must be understood that the legislator had decided not to apply these measures.

Thus, from now on, when there are more than 10 workers at the same time on a construction site, a health and safety representative must be designated.

The contractor should also develop a prevention program during the planning phase.

If a job site simultaneously employs more than 100 workers or exceeds $12 million, the project manager must designate a health and safety coordinator. In particular, he will have to participate in the development of a prevention program, investigate events that have or could have caused an accident at work and inspect workplaces.

“These are measures that have proven themselves, assured Mr. Ferland. It exists in the mining sector, for example, and it has considerably reduced work accidents and deaths.

According to the CNESST, the number of occupational injuries increased by more than 16% between 2015 and 2018.

“You have to understand that we are the deadliest industry in Quebec. We have 35% of deaths, while we represent around 5 to 6% of total employment. So there is a problem that needs to be remedied,” argued Mr. Ferland.

A CNESST representative was not available to respond to TVA Nouvelles' interview request. However, in an exchange of emails, the organization affirmed that “just over 70 inspectors have been trained to support workplaces in the construction sector with the entry into force of these measures”.

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