I would like to respond to an article entitled "Trades labour shortage holds back local construction sector” that was in the April 7, 2015 edition of Northern Life.
In the article, consultant Laura Dawson suggested there isn’t a correlation between more licensing and better safety.
However, this thinking is clearly misguided and factually wrong. The introduction of compulsory certification in 1978 for hoisting engineers has had a dramatic effect on fatalities in the trade.
A report prepared in 1991 by Don Dickie, who was at the time assistant general manager of the Construction Safety Association of Ontario, showed that from 1969 to 1978, when there were no training requirements for crane operators, crane-related fatalities accounted for 19.8 per cent of all construction deaths.
However, from 1979 to 2004, when compulsory certification and mandatory training for crane operators was established, that percentage dropped to 8.8 per cent. From 2000 to 2004, when training was compulsory, that statistic dropped further to 4.7 per cent.
Given this evidence, it is obvious that compulsory certification makes worksites safer.
Meanwhile, Dawson also erred by suggesting that the province only graduates 30 crane operators per year. As the union that trains these operators, we can attest to the fact these figures are much higher.
Between 2007 and 2014, we trained 319 mobile crane operators and 176 tower crane operators, for an average of 62 crane operators a year. In 2014 alone, we trained 62 mobile crane operators and 37 tower crane operators.
Our union closely monitors the requirements of contractors and adjusts training of crane operators in step with industry demand.
Presently, it takes an average of 24 months for a tower crane apprentice to complete the required 3,000 hours of training, so we can turn around new operators fairly quickly when the need arises.
Dawson should get her facts straight before making such inaccurate statements.
IUOE Local 793