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Safe work practices in residential construction

When you plan to do a house renovation, new back yard landscaping, replace an old asphalt shingle roof, update signal glazed windows, or rebuild your old house, what is the most important thing to know? The project budget cost? The project completion time? The material details? The workmanship? None of the above are the right answer. The most important thing to know is safety.

As an owner, before you sign the contract to a construction team or main contractor to do your residential construction, you should recognize and undertake the following Work Safe BC requirements to protect yourself and the workers who were hired directly or indirectly from you.

  1. Safe Work Practices in Residential Construction
  2. Clearance letter
  3. Notice of project
  4. First aid requirements
Safe Work Practices in Residential Construction

To reduce the potential for injury or disease, it’s important to manage the risks and hazards in your workplace. Work Safe BC is the guide line used to assist the owner, prime contractor and trade contractors who ensures safety in the work place during residential construction.

There are three main phases of residential construction: planning, site preparation, and construction.

  1. Planning includes work activities that take place before site preparation and construction can begin, including design, tendering, and scheduling.
  2. Site preparation includes work activities related to demolition and excavation.
  3. Construction includes all the work activities related to building. The construction phase includes pre-lockup and post-lockup:
  • Pre-lockup includes work activities that happen after demolition and excavation up to and including the installation of windows and exterior doors.
  • Post-lockup refers to work activities that happen after windows and exterior doors have been installed and you’re able to lock up the building.

Check out the following links for more safety information on the Work Safe BC web site:

Safe Work Practices in Residential Construction

Before you hire a contract or tradesmen to do the construction, here is a simple residential construction orientation checklist to reduce the owner’s liability.  Please go through the checklist before the work commences.

Sample Residential Construction Orientation Checklist

Clearance letter

It is critical to know if a company or contractor you plan to hire is registered with Worksafe BC and whether they have paid the Worksafe BC insurance premiums. If you hire a registered subcontractor who is not making the required payments to WorkSafeBC, you could be liable for insurance premiums relating to the work or service they provide to you. To protect yourself as an owner from additional insurance premiums, always get a clearance letter before and after you receive services from a subcontractor.

Get a clearance letter

Notice of project

Before starting work activity on certain construction projects, owners, prime contractors, and/or employers are required by the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation to send a written notice. The following conditions would require a Notice of Project to be submitted to WorkSafe BC.

  1. The estimated total cost of labour and materials for the work exceeds $100,000;
  2. All or part of the construction project, whether a temporary or permanent aspect of the project, is designed by a professional engineer except for pre-engineered or pre-manufactured building and structural components;
  3. The construction project is a new erection, a major alteration, a structural repair or a demolition;
  4. Workers will be working in a cofferdam or in a compressed air environment other than in underground working.

For more information, please check it out this link

Notice of Project

First aid requirements

Many home owners or prime contractors don’t know the importance and function of a First aid attendant on the construction site. Employers are responsible for first aid in the workplace. To determine the first aid needs of your workplace, you’ll need to do an assessment first. Then, you can review the findings and take the necessary steps to put proper first aid procedures in place. It is the liability for the home owner or prime contractors during the construction period and it is also the law of BC.

Most construction work is classified as a high risk of injury if it is 20 minutes or less surface travel time away from a hospital. If there are 2-15 workers per shift on site, one first aid attendant with Level 1 certificate for Emergency First Aid for industry must be on site for safety

Work Safe BC Occupational Health & Safety Regulation

Please ask your contractor or subcontractor to present a valid first aid training certificate before they commence the construction works.  Here are some information about the Frist Aid Training:

OFA Level 1 First Aid Training

It is an 8hr in-classroom training with in-class skills assessment and written exam. Please see the below for the course content:

Roles and Responsibilities of a First Aid Attendant in BC

  1. Emergency Scene Management
  2. Adult Resuscitation (Cardiovascular Emergencies, CPR, AED, First Aid for Choking)
  3. Mental Health Awareness
  4. Physical and Mental Trauma
  5. Severe Bleeding and Internal Bleeding
  6. Amputations and Wound Care
  7. Sprains and Strains
  8. Medical Conditions (Asthma, Anaphylaxis, Seizures, Diabetes)

There are some special training in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic and social status:

  1. Training for the method of treatment and procedure to reduce the potential for transmission from community infection of COVID-19.
  2. Training to recognize the workers or colleagues’ mental health effects during a global pandemic in the work place.
  3. Training to recognize drug overdose symptoms and medicine treatment (Naloxone).