The City of Penticton has recently issued a bulletin outlining the field inspection safety requirements (Bylaw 2012-03 Created: March 28, 2012). The purpose of the bulletin is to provide an outline for the minimum site safety standards that are to be provided by the owner or contractor and to when a site inspection can be refused by the Building Official for unsafe conditions.
There have been many occasions where occupational safety has been compromised for Building Officials performing on-site reviews. Hazards such as deep excavations, messy work areas, open pits or stairways with no railings have led to potential safety hazards for City staff. There also have been instances where City staff have been exposed to hazardous conditions such as asbestos, excessive dust or unsafe use of equipment.
Owners and Contractors are mandated by the Worker’s Compensation Act and the BC Building Code to protect the safety of all workers on site as well as the general public. Building inspectors, city workers, utility workers as well as subcontractors are included in site safety requirements. All people are entitled to a safe worksite.
If a potential hazard exists, the Building Official shall either request that the activity or situation be corrected immediately to perform the review or refuse to perform inspections until such a time that it can be shown it is safe to perform duties.
Some examples are:
- The job site is messy and has tripping hazards, poorly lit, unsecured stored material, exposed vertical rebar and high levels of dust.
- Excavations over 1.2m in depth and not back-sloped, shored or reviewed by a geotechnical engineer.
- Improper construction of stairs/guards, ramps or platforms.
- Openings in floors or roofs that are not secured/marked or protected by guards.
- Unsafe storage of flammable liquids or use of machinery.
- Exposed live electrical
- Overhead work such as roofing
- Renovation or demolition work that could potentially expose Building Officials to Hazardous Materials. A hazard assessment and abatement may be required before a Building Official will enter the building.
Municipalities are striving to improve safety on construction sites in order to protect city workers, the public and all workers on construction sites. Contractors and owners will not be able to obtain required building inspections unless they demonstrate that they are meeting minimum site safety standards.