A main goal for RESCON’s Health and Safety Committee is to create a space where health and safety representatives can come together to discuss and promote safety in the residential construction sector.
This is accomplished through committee member involvement with the MOL, IHSA, WSIB and other safety affiliates. But another way safety stays at the top of mind is through scouring the many online resources and publications that are available.
Navigating your way onto the right mailing lists and checking the right websites will increase your exposure to the hottest topics. Here are three resources that I rely on a lot.
(1.) Ministry of Labour (Health and Safety): click here. The MOL, as the ministry tasked with promoting a safe work environment in Ontario, is an essential resource. Here’s what I suggest for this website:
- Knowing how to access e-laws and regulations will provide a strong foundation into the regulatory and enforcement framework builders must operate within.
(2.) IHSA website: click here. Through its health and safety committee, RESCON has a strong relationship with the IHSA as numerous individuals volunteer their time to sit at the Construction Legislative Review Committee (CLRC), section 21 (Construction) committee, Residential Sector committee, and various subcommittees charged at examining specific safety issues. IHSA has developed an expanding social media presence including regular newsletters, an active twitter presence – @IHSAnews – and a large supply of safety resources including manuals, best practices documents and safety promotion material. This is an excellent resource when a site-specific issue arises.
(3.) Check out the WSIB website. As I am sure everyone is now aware, the WSIB is undertaking a rate framework review with submissions due on Oct. 2. This review could lead to fundamental changes in how builders are classified as well as the rates they pay. The latest update on the rate framework review can be found here. It is essential to understand how changes could impact the building community as past reforms have impacted the residential sector for periods of up to 10 to 20 years. Highlights include:- Focus on Industry Classes: When first proposed, the rate framework review reduced the number of industry classes to 22 with only three classes for construction. The July update indicates the WSIB will consider expanding this number. RESCON has advocated for an expansion of the G1 classification “Building Construction” to avoid grouping companies with a varying risk levels together.
- Second Injury Enhancement Fund (SIEF): The WSIB is aware that industry consensus is building to keep the SIEF fund in some form. RESCON has advocated for the continuation as well.
- Multi-Rating vs. Predominant Business Activity: Under the current system employers with multiple business functions, who qualified under WSIB guidelines, paid premiums under multiple rate groups which reflected the nature of their business. Under the rate framework review, the WSIB has proposed a blended rate meaning all employers will become members of one rate group. (The group which best reflects their predominant business activity.) This creates several issues including overpaying or underpaying, depending on your rating vs. practice. The proposed solution which involves employers’ level of predictability only applies for very large companies. Small companies will not be able to move away from the industry average. For more information on these three points or the rate framework in general, or information on how to make a submission to the WSIB or be a part of the RESCON submission, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, your best resource as a builder continues to be the RESCON Health and Safety Committee which any builder can reach out to by contacting me directly.
And remember – work safe!
Andrew Pariser is the vice-president of RESCON and chair of the association’s health and safety committee. You can reach him at email@example.com or @RESCON_VP.