HEALTH AND SAFETY RESOURCES

Our Answers to your OHS Questions

Some questions regarding the hiring of a safety officer.

Our security officers on construction sites can join your team now! They will wear your colours and proudly represent you!

What are the main health and safety responsibilities of the project manager?

The general contractor on a construction site has sole responsibility for the application of the law, regulations and safety codes. Both at the administrative and field-application level. In the event laws are not applied by one of the contractors or subcontractors, the general contractor is responsible for nonconformity occurring on its site. He must ensure that all the participants on his site act with due diligence in matters of health and safety management

How do you identify the general contractor on a construction site?

Several factors come into play in determining who is the general contractor on a site. He is the one who has the most important role. He has full responsibility for the execution of all works. To determine who is the general contractor on a construction site, we must first check the number of contracts issued for the construction of the work and how the contracts were awarded to the different contractors. An owner cannot award the project management to a contractor while issuing contracts to other contractors. If an owner issues more than one contract for the construction of the work, he automatically becomes the general contractor. It is the project manager who gives the contracts and who has control of what is happening on the site. The concept of site control is important. Since at this stage, we must also validate that the activities are carried out simultaneously on the site.

For example: A site in an existing factory that coexists with the production of the factory. If the contractor selected as the general contractor by the owner does not have control of what is happening on the site, given the production activities, he cannot be declared as the general contractor. It is also important to know that the owner must turn over the project management, even before the start of the work, and this even before the opening of the site to the CNESST. The handing over of the project management must be contractual. The project management cannot be changed during the construction. It is important to know that an owner, who contractually turns over his responsibility as a general contractor to a contractor, and that if the latter awards another contract to a different contractor for the construction of the work, the owner automatically becomes responsible for the contract despite the contractual clause which awarded its project management. In fact, even if a project manager is designated by a contract, this designation becomes null and void if the designated project manager does not have the responsibility of all the works.

Does the safety officer have to be present when overtime is performed on the site?

The safety officer on a construction site must be assigned full time on the site, but when overtime is performed, it is not required that the officer be present according to the safety code on construction sites if fewer than 50 workers are working.

If an additional shift is added on the site, can the safety officer partially cover the two shifts?

The safety officer on construction sites must be assigned full time to the site. The concept of full-time site coverage is a precedent. According to the decision rendered, the prime contractor cannot cover two shifts partially with a safety officer and assert that he fulfilled his obligations to the safety code on construction sites. In this case, he must use the services of two security officers on construction sites who will cover the site full time.

Can a security officer be used on several sites simultaneously?

The safety officer must be assigned only and full time on one construction site. It can therefore not cover several sites simultaneously.

Who should provide the safety officer on construction sites?

The safety officer on construction sites is a manager who works for the general contractor. The responsibility for hiring this person therefore belongs to the general contractor. Legally, a contractor who is not the general contractor is not obliged to hire a safety officer. It is important to check the contractual clauses binding the contractor to the general contractor. Sometimes, general contractors will ask for the certification of a safety officer on construction sites. The health and safety personnel working to assist a contractor (not a general contractor) are not obligated to be certified as a safety officer on construction sites.

Can we divide our site into different construction lots in order to reduce the value of the site?

Jurisprudence tells us that we must consider the final goal of the site. It is important to know that the notion of carrying out the site by dividing different construction lots is not applicable. Example: A building worth $9 million cannot be divided by opening a site for the foundations ($1M), another site for the structure ($3M) and others ($5M). When the CNESST inspector validates the opening of the site, he will consider it as a $9 million site.

What is the role of the safety officer on the construction site and can he have broader tasks?

The role of the safety officer on construction sites is only to ensure the health and safety of workers on the site. He must participate in the drafting of site-specific safety instructions, ensure that all workers know the risks related to their work, coordinate the site-specific safety instructions and measures within the letter of the law and see they are observed. He must also receive recommendations and meeting minutes from employers' safety committees, notices of deficiencies from an inspector and intervene when there is a risk of accident and investigate it. Finally, the safety officer cannot perform other tasks than those relating to health and safety on the site.

Is one safety officer enough for our site?

Depending on the number of workers on the site, more than one safety officer could be required! Here are the ratios under the Safety Code for the construction industry: 1 to 149 workers (site of more than $8 M) = 1 safety officer; 150 to 299 workers = 1 safety officer; 300 to 599 workers = 2 safety officers; 600 to 1199 workers = 3 safety officers; 1,200 to 2,399 workers = 4 safety officers; 2,400 workers and more = 5 safety officers.

When should you hire a safety officer on construction sites?

A safety officer must be present full time and this from the start of work on all construction sites employing: 150 workers or more at any time during the work or whose total cost of work exceeds $ 8 million.