Ontario PROs Face Tougher Inspections And Standards

Ontario PROs Face Tougher Inspections And Standards
Aprile La Rochelle, co-owner of A & A Portable Toilet Rentals and Septic Service, discusses recent enforcement issues in the Ontario market with Jake Groen, general manager of PolyJohn Canada. (Photo by Peter Kenter)

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Ontario, Canada, is known for exacting standards regarding the provision of portable restrooms to construction sites. Enforcement may get even tougher as members of the Ontario Association of Sewage Industry Services (OASIS) were told at a construction hygiene awareness session hosted by the province’s Infrastructure Health & Safety Association in Toronto earlier this year. 

The province’s Ministry of Labor inspects portable restroom installations at construction sites and conducted a pilot inspection program of 200 construction sites in February designed to reduce ambiguity in regulations that cover portable restrooms and cleanup facilities. Current regulations require warm water for any site served by electricity, and also require sinks, paper towels and recirculating flush tanks. 

Under the pilot program, inspectors in the province’s Central West Region, located north and east of Toronto, have been given more specific instructions regarding the meanings of such regulation wording as “adequate,” or “reasonably possible.” 

What is acceptable?

Randy Cooper, regional program coordinator of Construction Health and Safety for CWR told attendees that MOL had consulted with OASIS on such matters as what constituted “adequate” heat inside a portable restroom, for example. Based on currently available models in the provincial market, inspectors have been told that 50 degrees Fahrenheit constitutes adequate heat. 

Construction sites in remote areas can be exempted from the full force of the regulation, however, Cooper has instructed inspectors that no construction site in the CWR will be considered remote. 

“We don’t want to bend the supply and demand of these units in this region or elsewhere,” Cooper says. “We’re being mindful that if every facility on every large project had to provide hot or warm water in February, we might stretch the supply of these models, so we’re saying have at least one of these units or more than one if that’s the way you’ve been doing it. If you don’t have at least one, expect to get a time order.” 

Aprile La Rochelle, co-owner of A & A Portable Toilet Rentals and Septic Service of Uxbridge, Ontario, notes that the pilot program will affect some of her customers in the CWR. “We are going to look into the heated sinks,” she says. “However, I don’t know how they’re going to get the customers to go along with it. That’s going to be the issue. For example, three years ago we pulled all of our basic drop-style toilets off the sites and went with flush and sinks and lost a lot of customers because they didn’t want to pay the extra and could still call suppliers to rent units that weren’t compliant.”

After the pilot program concludes, some of the enforcement strategies may be rolled out province-wide. 

Following the presentation, several restroom suppliers displayed their compliant products. 

Jake Groen, general manager of PolyJohn Canada, demonstrated a new high-rise portable restroom sling developed solely for the Ontario market. 

The current regulations require a “container, sling or similar device for rigging or hoisting an object, including its fittings and attachments, shall be capable of supporting at least five times the maximum load to which it may be subjected.” However, on some construction sites, the load for portable restrooms had been calculated for an empty unit, not a full one. 

“If you’re lifting a unit that weighs 1,000 pounds when full, the hoist has to be rated for 5,000 pounds,” Groen says. “We sat down with our engineers and talked to our customers and developed something that meets those requirements. Each hoist has a serial number and documentation saying when it was made, and an engineering stamp to show that it’s been tested for that weight.”


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