Do we need health and safety regulations in home renovations?
Some people have told me contractors don’t need all this government interference. Why not leave them alone to get on with doing their job.
I guess there was a time with little or no regulation, but these days are long gone and now everyone’s supposed to be on a level playing field. I say supposed to be, but many still flaunt current laws and I regularly I come over one of the culprits and they’re roofing contractors, replacing existing homeowner’s shingles.
I came over one the other day whose workers were on a second story not wearing any harnesses, were not tied down, including ladders and the homeowner wondered around below holding a child’s hand oblivious to all the dangers.
That same day I found another roofing company, whose workers were all wearing harnesses, were tied down, including ladders and even had erected a fall barrier around the roofline. This was a rare sight to witness.
Going back to the first roofing contractor, I’m sure if the Ministry of Labour turned up, immediate fines might have caught their attention for a moment, yet I feel this would only be short lived and they’d continue as normal the next day. How can they be stopped?
When I consider another area of construction like the bigger commercial or industrial job sites, places you might find larger companies who might be using union workers. On these jobs they seem so detailed about Health and Safety that when a guy breaks wind; it’s recorded as a near mishap in their record book.
Yet the tightness found in this sector somehow does not seem to flow down to the home renovation side, yet contractors on home renovations fall under the same health and safety rules and most I meet are oblivious to the basics.
While continuing on the subject of safety, it reminds me of the bad old days in ship building. Accidents happened regularly. Imagine loosing a finger, picking it up and carrying on with the job. Maybe this comment is a little exaggerated, but it was that tough and there was no recourse to owners at that time.
Further these ships had huge boilers needing constantly stoking by men shovelling coal and the dust being inhaled, caused untold sickness, crippling disability and even death. If they only had some Health and Safety at that time, this would have saved many. I’m sure had they been given the vote, they would have all put their hands up in the air and voted YES for Health and Safety.
So let’s all get involved with Occupational Health & Safety and make it a level playing field for everyone, including the home renovation business.