Canadian Contractor

There are issues with homeowners building their own houses!

A homeowner building their own home is not really at "home" on their job site. He's at a workplace, or a worksite, under the Ontario Health and Safety Act. And he is liable to prosecution if someone gets injured.

February 12, 2015
By Alec Caldwell

CARAHS_LogoAlec's Oct 2014 Photo. jpg

“It’s my own home I am building!” is the defence that I sometimes hear when people claim to me that they don’t have to worry about Ministry of Labour rules.

When I tell them that even their own home, where they are the builder of it, is just like any other construction site in Ontario under the Ontario Health and Safety Act (OHSA), I get disappointed looks and weary shrugs.

And whether we were standing in Vancouver, Winnipeg or on the banks of the MacKenzie River (NWT), the laws are the same.

These homeowners are considered constructors under the OHSA (or whatever it’s called in your Province) and these people are also required to follow the same requirements as home building contractors. Meaning that these so -alled homeowners (constructors) are open to prosecution for safety violations before or after an injury to any workers onsite.

My question is, are these homeowners (constructors) out to save a buck by building themselves?

If the answer is yes, how come these individuals  (constructors) get away with endangering peoples lives? I’m not against anyone trying to save money, but I am against those who put profit first.

Recently, I came over another two of these homeowner-constructors on different work sites near Yonge Street in Toronto. They had no clue about Ontario’s safety laws and the designer leather shoes worn onsite (in non compliance) was the clue.

A Ministry of Labour (Mol) inspector could appear at these work sites anytime and catch the. Or if someone from their job site were to be is taken to hospital, these very same hospitals are mandated to report such accidents to WSIB, who in turn advise the MoL.

It’s too late at the hospital stage to protect that person’s safety. Worse still, those injured could face a lifetime of disability, pain and no money. If they are depending on WSIB benefits kicking in long term for their financial security, such individuals should think twice. WSIB is denying claims left, right and centre as they try to improve their finances.

It’s never to late to put in some safety procedures at your jobsite. Whether you are a contractor, a homeowner, or not sure which of the two you are.

Please let’s hear your comments.

By providing education and training, CARAHS reduces your risk of fines, job site closures and prosecution under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act. We are independent of unions and government.

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