‘Ottawa’ Labour Ministry Makes 47 Orders on LRT Project
The Ontario Ministry of Labour says it made 47 orders after visiting the LRT construction site several times over the course of a week.
According to a ministry spokesperson, provincial reps performed 14 field visits during the week of March 20.
The ministry said the orders mostly related to four areas: reversing vehicles; a director’s consent to operate internal combustion engines in a tunnel; damaged, non-compliant or absent fire lines and equipment; and, inadequate lighting.
No order caused the entire LRT construction project to shut down.
The visits by the labour ministry followed an incident where a tunnel worker was struck in the head with a concrete-supply hose on March 18. Paramedics treated and transported him to hospital as a precaution. There was another worker hurt on March 11 while installing rebar, but he also wasn’t seriously injured.
Steve Cripps, director of the O-Train project, said the labour orders don’t mean the project was written up on infractions.
“It’s a whole variety of things and the number seems high, but it’s not 47 safety violations,” Cripps said.
However, Ottawa and District Labour Council president Sean McKenny still doesn’t believe the construction project is safe.
“There’s no such thing as something that’s minor,” McKenny said.
Last Friday, McKenny had a meeting about safety issues with Cripps, city transportation GM John Manconi and Rideau Transit Group CEO Antonio Estrada.
Both McKenny and Cripps described it as a good meeting and the group agreed to connect monthly.
“One of the good things about it is we agreed to continue to meet,” McKenny said.
Cripps said: “It’s good constructive dialogue and sharing of information.”
But McKenny still isn’t convinced the city is taking safety seriously on the $2.1-billion LRT project.
“Initially we got very few calls about the safety,” McKenny said. “Those calls picked up over the last year, maybe year and a half to two years. We started hearing more and more.”
Cripps said the city does proactive safety work on the LRT project, even though RTG is doing the actual building.
For example, the city asked RTG to complete a housekeeping audit since the labour ministry asked about housekeeping issues in the past. RTG noted areas of improvement at the end of the audit, Cripps said.
Cripps repeated recent observations made by the city and RTG that the injury rate for the LRT project is low for a heavy-construction project.
“We’re committed to safety, so one injury is too many,” Cripps said.