NEWS AND RESOURCES
News stories and links relevant to the residential construction industry (with a focus on Nova Scotia) will appear on this page.
Original Source: https://globalnews.ca/video/6295416/n-s-issues-warnings-creates-new-safety-initiative-after-global-news-construction-investigation
On Dec. 13, 2019 N.S. issues warnings, creates a new safety initiative on behalf of homeowners and the folks they hire to carry out work on their property. The information cards developed by the N. S. Dept. of Labour and Advanced Education are intended to prompt anyone having work done at their home to ask some basic questions on workplace safety.
Our OHSA reaches far beyond our traditional employer; employee relationships sense the mid 1990’s. David Dahr recently spoke with the N.S. Dept. of Labour Executive Director, Harold Carroll and he shared with David what these cards will look like in the spring of 2020 and suggested that David can share this with the public. These are the information cards that the N. S. Gov. wants you to have. Unfortunately, these cards are not posted on their web site yet but will be soon. Two years ago the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency, done a similar campaign that pertains to trade certifications. The RCSA provides you with a link to this story on this page. Having this information will benefit both the homeowners, the independent contractor and self-employed. This is one of the key pieces in helping homeowners with understanding their relationships between the parties of The Internal Responsibility System (OHSA) for residential construction. Before you ask these questions, it is important that you know the correct answers and why you are asking them. That is why the RCSA has developed our first construction safety home study course that was designed to help homeowners, independent contractors and self-employed folks with both your questions and the correct answers. Saving you both time and money in your gathering of the valuable information you need in applying your due-diligence. Assuming you know the correct answer does not compare to having real knowledge. In addition to these cards that the N. S. Dept. of Labour and Advanced Education have provided their other precautions we must take during the COVID 19 outbreak.
Recommended prevention strategies for construction include:
Maintaining a safe distance
Avoiding carpooling to job sites
Reducing face-to-face meetings
Taking breaks away from the group
Regularly cleaning tools and surfaces, and not sharing tools
Regularly cleaning PPE and vehicles
Washing hands often
Wear face mask and safety glasses when it is appropriate
Prior to Dec. 13, 2019 there was one other time when the N.S. Dept. of Labour discussed the duties and responsibilities of a homeowner when hiring someone to carry out work on their property as well as the self-employed folks. David Dahr arranged a live TV News call in show on March 21, 2000 with Global TV called The Maritimes Today, and invited a N.S. Labour Lawyer, Donald Murray and a N.S. Dept. of Labour Safety Officer, David Walsh to answer questions from the general public.
Upon the completion of RCSA’s first home study safety module a letter was sent to the Department of Labour and Advanced Education (DOLAE) Executive Director thanking them for their participation throughout its development. The DOLAE replied to our letter in an email and commented on the letter that he sent to us based upon the limitation and politics that is involved around residential construction workplace safety, I am also attaching a letter that you can use to inform those you maybe connecting with of our support to find ways to bring more awareness to those involved in hiring or making decisions in relation to safety. This is not something that should be posted to your website but can be used when connecting with parties to show the value of information on OHS. acknowledging our association and the services we are offering the home owners their independent contractors and self-employed individuals who work on their properties. The DOLAE acknowledge the gap in the delivery of OHS information and that home owners are making decisions as the end user and need away to access information to assist them in making an informed decision when hiring someone. The OHSA has nothing to do with any financial arrangements that are made between the parties. It also does not care about your personal profession. The DOLAE main concern is which role you take on under the OHSA regulations and the duties and responsibilities that attach themselves to that role.
Legislation Regarding Tradespersons Qualifications
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency is moving to reduce the number of companies using unqualified workers for jobs requiring skilled tradespersons specific to the residential construction sector with legislation introduced on February 28th, 2018.
Serious Penalty for Safety Violator
The Global News website has a news story about "A Nova Scotia contractor who became the first person jailed in the province for failing to keep workers safe on the job" continuing to violate safety rules.
The RCSA Introduces Itself to NS Municipalities
The RCSA would like to give thanks to the The Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities for giving us the opportunity to introduce ourselves to their stakeholders. They accepted our submission of an article entitled "Workplace Safety Evolving into the 21st Century" for their prominent Municipal Voice Magazine -Spring 2018 edition, published on behalf of Nova Scotian communities and their Municipalities.
Home BUILDER Magazine Publishes Article About Work Safety Practices Report
Home BUILDER Magazine had a conversation with RCSA founder David Dahr and became interested in a OHS research project that pertains to workplace safety in residential construction, written by David Dahr in collaboration with Dalhousie University. The majority of those that were invited to participate in this research project for the most part did not give their input due to the scope of their core mandate or because it was not involving the employer-employee relationship. You may read their article on the report describing the state of worker safety practices in the Nova Scotian construction industry on their website. This research project on OHS in residential construction was the first of its kind and made possible after David Dahr accompanied with Andrew Cochrane, Dean of Dalhousie met with the N.S. Labour Minister the Honourable Mark Parent.
RCSA would like to give thanks to the East Coast Credit Union for their support in their promotion of local Businesses of the month in all of our endeavors in workplace safety. We are in four branch networks across Nova Scotia with the credit union in their promotion of local businesses as well as on their website and social media, Facebook and Twitter.
RCSA does not usually elaborate on the politics of these news articles, but this article is pointing out some interesting points were we cannot remain silent.
The Nova Scotia Home Builders Association New Homes and Renovations
This article is one of the first times the Nova Scotia construction stakeholders have made a public reference to a homeowner who can be recognized as a general contractor. This is a major step for our construction stakeholders because home owners are not within the scope of their core mandate of OHS. The article goes on further and refers to independent contractors and self-employed individuals as tradespeople. We (RCSA) have been helping homeowners with this very subject matter for some time and is why we evolved into this industry. The article confirms the importance of why RCSA have been educating homeowners to ensure their responsibilities under the OHSA have been met on their projects. The need, to start asking questions clarifying who should be working on their property is a major component of their decission making process. Asking the right questions are important but knowing the correct answer to the question is what makes the difference. Just assuming they know does not mean they are qualified.
RCSA Directors have a background in this subject matter as far back as 2000 and have always understood these facts through our research and publications. RCSA see this as a positive step in the right direction for our construction stakeholders and the industry.
When information is given on OHS it has to be correct; there is no room for error otherwise someone could become seriously injured. The suggested statistics the WCB refer to in this article do not reflect the residential construction industry as a whole. These numbers only reflect those companies who carry their coverage and their employee's who file an injury claim. The true numbers are much higher. RCSA has developed a comprehensive home study, safety training program that assists both the self-employed and the homeowner to address many of these comments in this article and more.
Just as a worker has a right to know what they need to know at their workplace to do their job safely so does the self-employed person and the homeowner alike. The self-employed person should know what safety qualifications the contractor they work for has in addition to their own safety training, just as a homeowner should ask appropriate questions to ensure personnel working on their property have proper safety training and trade certificates. Not everyone on a residential construction site is an employee. There could also be independent contractors and self-employed individuals as well. All of which require mandatory supervision and must be in compliance of the OHSA’s regulations and standards.
RSCA operates from and serves Nova Scotia.