March 15, 2010
Regulations require that a worker wear and use the protective clothing and equipment necessary to protect against hazards.

Every provincial workplace is covered under the general duty clause of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, requiring the employer to take every precaution reasonable for the protection of any worker. Examples of reasonable precautions as appropriate in the circumstances may be found in the Construction Regulations, or the Ontario Traffic Manual for Temporary Conditions published by Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.

Many employers are not sure about shorts on construction sites. Neither the Occupational Health and Safety Act, nor the Construction/industrial Regulations address the issue. Section 25 of the Construction Regulations deals with the specific issue of the risk of injury to the worker’s skin: “A worker shall use protection appropriate in the circumstances when there is a risk of injury on a project from contact between the worker’s skin and, (a) a noxious gas, liquid, fume or dust; (b) an object that may puncture, cut or abrade the skin; (c) a hot object, hot liquid or molten metal; or (d) radiant heat.” For more information, go to

Workers who may be endangered by vehicular traffic, are to wear a garment that covers at least his or her upper body and has the following features:
  • The garment shall be fluorescent blaze or international orange in colour.
  • On the front and the back, there shall be two yellow stripes that are five centimetres wide. The yellow area shall total at least 500 square centimetres on the front and at least 570 square centimetres on the back.
  • On the front, the stripes shall be arranged vertically and centred and shall be approximately 225 millimetres apart, measured from the centre of each stripe. On the back, they shall be arranged in a diagonal “X” pattern.
  • The stripes shall be retro-reflective and fluorescent.
  • If the garment is a vest, it shall have adjustable fit.
  • A nylon vest to which this section applies shall also have a side and front tear-away feature.
  • In addition, a worker who may be endangered by vehicular traffic during night-time hours shall wear retro-reflective silver stripes encircling each arm and leg, or equivalent side visibility-enhancing stripes with a minimum area of 50 square centimetres per side.
Under the OHSA, the employer has a duty to ensure the health and safety of employees by identifying the potential hazards that the workers may be exposed to and develop policies and procedures to control the worker’s exposure to those hazards. The employer may have specific policies regarding the type of clothing that is required to be worn while working at or visiting construction/industrial sites, and the worker should consult with the employer to determine if they have such a policy.