The Ontario government has passed amendments under the Occupational Health and Safety Act which provide new technical and operational safety measures and procedures for rotary foundation drill rigs, and require that drill rig operators be trained and certified.

The amendments containing the new drill rig requirements, which have been passed in regulation, will come into effect on July 1, 2016 to allow time for the construction industry to comply.

The Ministry of Labour states in its press release that rotary foundation drill rigs are used for boring holes in soil in order to install foundations or earth retention structures.

Ontario is the only jurisdiction in Canada to implement explicit training requirements for drill rig operators in its health and safety legislation. The Ministry states in its press release that these changes are intended to build on actions that the province is already taking to improve safety for construction workers, including the Working at Heights Training requirements (read our article about this training here). The Ministry says that Ontario’s construction industry has traditionally experienced higher rates of workplace injuries and fatalities than other workplace sectors, and that there were 200 critical injuries in construction last year and 21 fatalities.

The Ministry of Labour’s press release announcing the changes can be found here.