High importance placed on workplace safety at new home construction sites.
New home builders have many goals, including delivering beautifully designed, well constructed residences that satisfy our buyers’ needs and wants. We also want these homes to be constructed with workers’ safety in mind. The construction industry includes inherent risks, as work sites are ever-changing environments buzzing with a variety of trades people and vehicles. Ladders, heavy equipment, noise, airborne pollution, scaffolding, trenches … the list of potential hazards is long.
The best way to avoid injuries to our workers is to engage in good workplace safety practices, which includes creating safe conditions, making everyone on a job site aware of these and training workers in safety procedures. At Geranium Homes, we consider this paramount to protecting against dangerous practices, which on our lowrise building sites can range from the improper use of ladders, the misuse of fall protection gear and failure to use proper guardrails at perimeter and floor openings.
Government is also concerned with workplace safety. The Ministry of Labour enforces various regulations with the same impact for every employer and constructor in Ontario. In addition, the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB), which was enacted into law on January 1, 1998, administers compensation and no-fault insurance for Ontario workplaces. WSIB requires mandatory coverage in construction.
Our Safety Professional Roger W. Tickner, president of Tickner & Associates Inc., (SafetyWay.com) which we use to audit our Occupational Health and Safety Management System, had these comments about how safety practices have changed over the years. “It used to be that workers disregarded wearing ear plugs or dust masks – even fall protection was taken lightly. Times have changed and the health and safety message, today, resonates loudly within the construction industry.”
Safety regulations benefit workers, builders and new home purchasers. By following an established set of standards, workers avoid getting hurt on the job and lessen the risk to their co-workers and the construction project itself. For builders, establishing and executing a proper set of standards, monitoring the work as it progresses to ensure compliance, and then disciplining anyone who fails to comply combine to demonstrate our obligation to valued trades people and employees, and the fact that we place great value on everyone’s well-being.
How does safety benefit homeowners? If Ontario’s Ministry of Labour issues stop-work orders because of safety violations, a one-day shutdown could set back the project by a full week – which in turn, pushes back occupancy dates and creates the need to rush the schedule. When done in a hurry, workmanship can suffer. As Tickner says, “Well-run sites operated by conscientious builders result in great products, happy homeowners and repeat customers. And best of all, workers avoid injury.
“Geranium is among many conscientious builders. They educate and train workers, and have very knowledgeable supervisors who know the importance of safety on the job site.”
Geranium Homes considers attention to health and safety a critical part of our corporate culture. Roger sums it up well: “We equate quality with attitude and performance. Safety is always the right choice.”
Louie Morizio is vice president, housing for Geranium Corporation and a Director of RESCON. Since 1977, Geranium has built more than 8,000 homes in fine neighbourhoods and communities throughout Ontario.