Falls from heights a leading cause of workplace injuries and fatalities
Falls from elevation are a significant hazard in the industrial sector. Every company should have a fall protection program. This starts with a policy. A policy statement states the company’s commitment to reducing fall hazards in the workplace. A designated person must be in charge to oversee a fall protection program and put controls in place to manage fall hazards identified during the risk assessment.
Employers are required to identify and assess fall-related hazards in their workplace. For all slip, trip and fall hazards that cannot be eliminated, employers are required to inform and train workers regarding these hazards.
Examples of working at heights in industrial sector
Contractor installs new equipment via roof
Often when a contractor is brought in to install new equipment in a mill or plant, working at heights is involved. In many situations new equipment is being installed in an existing building. Due to its size, the equipment has to be brought in through the roof by crane. A hole has to be cut to allow for installation. Fall prevention equipment would be utilized throughout this process, from cutting the hole in the roof to the actual installation.
Bridge building in a forestry application would also fall under the Construction Projects Regulation and would require workers wear fall prevention equipment during the construction phase.
Falls from equipment
Falls from stationary mechanical harvesting equipment in a logging application has currently been identified as a significant fall issue in the industry. In many cases, this is the result of a hydraulic oil leak, ice or snow on walking surfaces, or inadequate handholds on equipment. This could apply to any mobile equipment in forestry operations.
Constructor responsible for worker safety
Regardless of the size and cost of a construction project, the Occupational Health and Safety Act’s (OHSA) Regulations for Construction Projects is always applicable. Under the OHSA, a “constructor” is a person or company who oversees the construction of a project, and who is ultimately responsible for the health and safety of all workers, according to the Ministry of Labour. The constructor must ensure that all the employers and workers on the project comply with the Act and regulations.
Legal duties of the person or company overseeing a construction project
A constructor has overall responsibility for worker health and safety on a project and must ensure:
- the measures and procedures prescribed by the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Regulations for Construction Projects are carried out on the project;
- every employer and every worker on the project complies with this act and the Regulations for Construction Projects;
- the health and safety of workers on the project is protected;
- a health and safety representative or a Joint Health and Safety Committee is selected as prescribed;
- the Ministry of Labour is notified of a project as prescribed;
- the Ministry of Labour is notified of an accident or occurrence as prescribed; and
- every contractor or subcontractor receives a list of all designated substances present at the project before the prospective contractor or subcontractor enters into a binding contract for the supply of work on the project.
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