MHCA points task force to red-tape frustrations
February 24, 2017 – The daily frustrations and long-standing concerns about the weight and detail of paper work, rules and forms experienced by the heavy construction companies were on the table at a recent Manitoba Heavy Construction Association (MHCA) presentation to a provincial task force.
In response, off the top, to the Red Tape Reduction Task Force’s request for “low-hanging fruit” – the issues that are most easily, quickly resolved – MHCA president Chris Lorenc pointed to an increasing frequency of frivolous and arbitrary orders issued by Workplace Safety and Health officers. He offered examples illustrating the point that they should always be made with reference to the WSH Act’s provisions or regulations, not simply on opinion.
Industry needs certainty and consistency, something free-standing opinions cannot offer. Worse they create fractured relations with the WS&H division instead of what industry wants, which is a strong mutually respectful relationship.
The MHCA met February 21 with the task force’s land-development subcommittee. The purpose of the full task force, the Pallister government has said, is to find specific regulatory requirements that are detrimental to the competitiveness of business and a drag on the economy.
The MHCA’s brief stressed that the time involved in complying with requirements of the multiplicity of forms and rules, along with bureaucratic processes, costs money — either through staff resources or materials and equipment that have to be bought for compliance.
The primary points of the MHCA’s brief, written after consultation with members, included:
• To assist in work-site inspections, WS&H should ensure that officers assigned to the construction industry have good orientation before starting their jobs, or have experience in the field;
• It is critical that the province clarify legislative authority over aggregate resources – sand and gravel pits;
• Issuing of permits for quarries is unnecessarily time consuming, complicated and contradictory in expectation. It is in strong need of streamlining and suggestions were offered to the sub-committee.
The task force is to compile an initial report by the end of the month, so recommendations and an action plan can be ready this spring. Full implementation will come by May 2018.