What are the hazards associated with working at heights?
Year after year, roughly one in six lost-time injuries results from falls, according to Workplace Safety and Insurance Board statistics. Falls are the leading cause of fatal accidents in the Ontario construction industry and have caused injury and death across Ontario workplaces.
What the law says?
If your workers face fall hazards, you’re required to provide them with fall-protection training and equipment.
Under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) employers must take every reasonable precaution to protect workers from hazards. They must provide information and instruction, and ensure that workers properly use the required equipment. Otherwise, employers, supervisors and workers can be prosecuted for not complying with the law.
How fall hazards can affect your business
The fines associated with not complying with the law are steep. Add to that the cost of losing an employee to injury or death and the numbers are limitless. According to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, the average cost of an injury claim is nearly $12,000. When you factor in other costs to your business such as equipment damage and lost productivity, this can rise to more than $59,000.
What can you do?
Workers need training, knowledge and experience with the hazards they face in order to avoid injuries.
Employers need to develop safety procedures for each task that requires a worker to work at a height greater than three metres. These procedures should take into account what is needed to protect the worker from a fall. Workers need to know these procedures and review them before starting the task.
Ontario’s health and safety associations have training and other resources available to help you decrease hazards related to working from heights.