When being light on your feet isn’t graceful-avoiding the Slip, Trip and Fall Hazards.
Preparation is the key to getting a passing grade. The Ministry of Labour is doing a Safety Blitz in February-March 2015, focusing on slips, trips and falls hazards at industrial and construction workplaces. The ministry’s inspectors have placed a strong focus on fall related issues during their inspections and word is they will continue to have a “low tolerance” says Joe O’Grady, an IHSP Specialist with the Occupational Health and Safety Branch at the ministry. Ensure that your workers have received fall prevention training as an initial start, however site-specific training is also required. The employer must train workers on the specific hazards faced and types of equipment used on the job.
As a starting point, here are some tips to get your and your workers prepared for the New Year blitz;
Preventing Falls from Heights: RoofGuard and HatchGuard products should be your first choice for fall protection as they virtually eliminate the fall hazard if they are installed correctly. With these products in place, you can’t fall as there is no open edge or accessible floor opening. If you need to work closer to the open edge, then implement a Fall Restraint anchor to protect yourself from the fall hazard. Another word of caution, always maintain three point contact when you are going up or down ladders and when you are climbing on or off equipment. It is interesting to note that most of the fall related orders issued by MOL were related to missing or improperly constructed guardrails and unsafe access or egress from a work area or scaffolding.
Working with Ladders: Section 19 of the Regulations for Industrial Establishments states: “Where frequent access is required to equipment elevated above or below floor level, permanent platforms shall be provided with access by a fixed stair or Access Ladder.” Ensure the surface finish of the rungs and side rails facilitates a secure foothold and handhold and the rungs should have a non-slip surface. The shape of the side rail should permit a power grip. As a further precaution to prevent falls from height, “a cage must be provided where the top of the ladder is greater than 5 metres (16ft) above ground level, roof or floor or where is a danger of a worker falling from the ladder to the ground level, roof or floor even if the length of the climb is less than 5 meters (16ft).” Cages should be provided with horizontal hoops or bands to help impede the fall of a worker.
Slip and Trip Prevention: Ensure your facility is clear of materials and debris. Stack materials and secure them so they cannot fall into work areas. Ensure your outside environment is accessible and clear, especially during winter when snow and ice can impede the walkways. View your facility with vigilant eyes, inspect your walking and working surfaces and access and egress routes to and from work locations.
Set your compliance bar high at your facility and always seek new ways of improving results. Every slip, trip or fall you take has a lesson behind it, let’s not make it a fatal one….