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Construction High Risk Strategy

The Construction High Risk Strategy (HRS) was developed through examination of claims data and identification of work activities with the highest potential for causing serious injury.

Falls are one of the leading causes of injuries to construction workers in B.C., representing 24% of all injuries and 37% of all claims costs. From 2013 to 2015, falls from ladders, scaffolds, staging, and platforms injured or killed 1,408 workers in the construction sector. That’s more than one fall every day for three years. In 2017, in addition to focusing on falls, WorkSafeBC will work proactively to prevent the occurrences of excavation collapses and underground utility strikes to stop these events from contributing to the construction industry’s serious injury rate.


  • 4,995 focused inspections
  • Various partnerships and resources that will lead to an increase in worker safety and decrease the number of injuries caused by falls


  • The role of supervisors during high-risk work activities is critical to the health and safety of B.C.’s construction workers. Engaging supervisors on site to understand their roles and responsibilities in identifying hazards and correcting unsafe conditions will be a consistent theme throughout the Construction HRS for 2017.
  • Inspections will engage all employers within the construction sector determined to be using ladders, scaffolds, staging, or elevated work platforms on site and those working in or around excavations. During these inspections, officers will focus discussions on safe ladder use, erection and dismantling of scaffold systems, requirements for engineered excavations, call or click before you dig, and the role and responsibilities of effective supervision. WorkSafeBC will apply full use of enforcement tools and their use will be tracked.

Deliverables and timelines

Activities Details

Inspections — Ladders
Q1–Q4 2017

  • Safe ladder use
  • Risk assessment for access to work at heights; “Is This the Right Tool for the Job?” initiative
  • Site inspection of actual use of ladders

Inspections — Scaffolding
Q2–Q4 2017

  • Safe scaffold use, erection and dismantling
  • Checklist and risk assessment evaluation tool
  • Site inspection of scaffold system set-up and use

Inspections — Excavations
Q2–Q4 2017

  • Safe work in and around excavations
  • Avoiding contact with underground utilities
  • Excavation in accordance with engineering documentation and instructions

Inspections — Effective Supervision
Q2–Q4 2017

  • Roles and responsibilities with respect to health and safety
  • Identifying hazards and conducting risk assessments
  • Correction of unsafe conditions when observed or reported

Fall prevention workshop
Q1–Q4 2017

  • Deliver, with the support of the BC Construction Safety Alliance (BCCSA) and other industry partners, a fall prevention workshop with a focus on ladders, scaffolding, work platforms, and supervisors (location to be determined)

BCCSA partnership
Q1–Q4 2017

  • Continue to assist, support, and partner with the BCCSA around WorkSafeBC’s Construction HRS, including the Bridging the Gap conference
  • Meet with the BCCSA to discuss the HRS focus and identify partnership opportunities
  • Develop resources related to data analysis for focus areas

“Is this the Right Tool for the Job?” initiative
Q1–Q4 2017

  • Focus on reducing serious injuries related to ladder use by having workers consider “Is this the right tool for the job?” before they reach for a ladder
  • Develop a strategy for expanding this messaging further into the construction industry, including a review of the communication and marketing plan

Residential Builders Alert initiative

  • Focus on all aspects of safety in the residential construction industry, with a strong emphasis on fall prevention and occupational disease prevention (asbestos)
  • Develop marketing tools and resources, and distribute to cities and municipalities and to stakeholders in the residential construction industry
  • Develop and provide options for promoting resources and key messages

This Construction High Risk Strategy overview and an employer letter are available for download.