Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Construction site safety – The City’s commitment to keeping Calgarians safe
As a recent release from The City’s Development & Building Approvals illustrates, applications for building permits and construction in Calgary continues to boom.
As the number of building sites and construction cranes continue to grow across the city, it seems as though the number of cases of construction materials falling from these construction sites is also on the rise.
According to The City’s chief of building inspectors, it’s not just our imagination.
“The number of reported incidents is higher,” says Kevin Griffiths, The City’s chief building officer and manager of building regulations. “I’d attribute this to a number of factors, including an increased awareness on the public’s part, and the fact that Calgarians just aren’t tolerating these types of incidents.”
So who’s responsible for ensuring that these types of incidents don’t continue to occur?
According to Griffiths, it’s a responsibility shared between The City and the provincial government.
The Alberta government’s Occupational Health & Safety legislation governs the safety practices on construction sites, while The City of Calgary’s responsible for ensuring that any buildings under construction (everything from high rises to houses) do not cause damage to adjacent properties or endanger Calgarians.
It’s a responsibility that The City takes seriously.
After the most recent incidents, The City’s inspectors visited every construction site in downtown Calgary to ensure that all construction companies are aware of their responsibilities in keeping Calgarians safe. At the same time, The City reinforced its stance that there will be no tolerance for unsafe practices.
If an unsafe incident does occur, there are a number of actions that The City can take - from a stop-work order on the site to laying charges against the construction companies which can result in a $15,000 fine or 6-months jail time.
“We know that there’s more that needs to be done,” says Griffiths. “We’re committed to working with the construction industry to ensure the continued safety of Calgarians.”
With that goal in mind, Griffiths’ team recently sat down with the Calgary Construction Association to form a working group on increasing construction site safety and exploring what else can be done.
If Calgarians have concerns about potentially unsafe conditions on any construction site, they can call 3-1-1 to report it.