WorkSafeBC’s inspectional approach for construction in 2024 aims to reduce serious injuries and fatalities

WorkSafeBC’s inspectional approach for construction in 2024 aims to reduce the number of serious and fatal injuries in the sector....

WorkSafeBC’s inspectional approach for construction in 2024 aims to reduce serious injuries and fatalities

WorkSafeBC’s inspectional approach for construction in 2024 aims to reduce the number of serious and fatal injuries in the sector.

Statistics from WorkSafeBC show that the construction sector in B.C. had a time-loss claims rate that was 24 percent higher than the provincial average for all sectors. Across B.C., the time-loss claims rate was 2.40 per 100 workers in 2022, while in construction it was 2.98.

“Our 2024 inspectional initiatives focus on the sectors that have the highest risk of serious injury, and that includes construction,” says Suzana Prpic, Senior Manager, Prevention Field Services at WorkSafeBC. “The goal of our inspectional approach for construction is to work with stakeholders to reduce the risk of injury to workers in the industry.”

WorkSafeBC’s inspectional initiative for construction comprises proactive, unannounced inspections, and takes a risk-based approach to ensure the most significant risks are being effectively managed. For 2024, the focus is on the following areas:

  • Falls from elevation and struck-by mobile equipment: These two injury types are the drivers of the most serious injuries in construction.
  • Musculoskeletal and repetitive strain injuries (MSI and RSI): Overexertion injuries are the most frequent type of injury overall in the construction industry.
  • Related focus areas include WorkSafeBC’s Crane and Mobile Equipment and Occupational Disease initiatives.
  • WorkSafeBC is actively engaging with industry and worker representatives to understand the causes of recent crane-related incidents and to discuss ways to enhance crane safety across the province.
  • Occupational disease remained the number one cause of work-related fatalities in 2023. In the construction sector alone, occupational disease claimed the lives of 115 workers between 2019 and 2022.

The importance of risk management

WorkSafeBC stresses that effective risk management is critical in keeping workers safe. Construction employers must take a proactive approach and collaborate with workers, worker representatives, or joint health and safety committees to identify potential hazards, evaluate risks, and implement measures to control them.

Employers must also ensure risk management plans are effectively communicated to workers through orientations, training, supervision, incident investigations, worksite inspections, and, where applicable, joint health and safety committees.

Prime contractors play a pivotal role on multi-employer construction sites and have a legal responsibility to create and implement site-specific safety plans tailored to each project’s unique risks and hazards. Prime contractors are responsible for coordinating site activities across the entire worksite to ensure the safety of all workers.

“Construction sites are dynamic and constantly changing, that’s why risk assessments and control measures need to continually be reviewed and updated,” says Prpic. “An effective risk management program must involve ongoing collaboration with workers at every step. You want to ensure your workers feel valued and empowered to contribute to a safer workplace. This not only strengthens the overall health and safety culture but also enhances job satisfaction and productivity.”

WorkSafeBC’s Planned Inspectional Initiatives identify and target industries and employers with a high risk of serious workplace injury and a significant contribution to the serious injury rate and the time-loss claims rate. Based on these factors, construction, forestry, health care and social services, and manufacturing are identified as high-risk sectors.

Key facts:

  • April is Construction and Skilled Trades Month in B.C.
  • Serious injuries account for approximately 21 percent of claims in the construction industry.
  • In 2023, WorkSafeBC prevention officers conducted a total of 15,409 initiating inspections, resulting in 15,895 orders and 289 penalties.
  • As part of its proactive inspectional strategy for construction, WorkSafeBC is working with external stakeholders, such as the B.C. Construction Safety Alliance, and BC Crane Safety, to proactively respond to evolving industry challenges and emerging risks.
  • Over a ten-year period, the time-loss claims rate for construction improved from 3.99 per 100 workers in 2013 to 2.98 in 2022.

About WorkSafeBC

WorkSafeBC engages workers and employers to prevent injury, disease, and disability in B.C. When work-related injuries or diseases occur, WorkSafeBC provides compensation and support to people in their recovery, rehabilitation, and safe return to work. We serve 2.7 million workers and 280,000 employers across B.C.

For more information, contact:

Media Relations, WorkSafeBC
Tel: 604.276.5157

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