IHSA reminds you of Ministry of Labour “Slips, Trips and Falls” blitz
By Anthony Capkun
February 6, 2013 – Thanks to IHSA (Infrastructure Health & Safety Association) for reminding you to get ready for this month’s Ministry of Labour’s (MoL) enforcement blitz on slips, trips and falls.
“Unfortunately, falls are still one of the leading causes of fatalities and critical injuries across Ontario,” says IHSA. “In the industries served by [IHSA], the number of lost-time injuries caused by falls in 2011 rose by 3.2% from the previous year. Those statistics show that we need to do more to reduce falls in our industries.”
Throughout February and March, MoL inspectors will pay particular attention to slip, trip and fall hazards when they visit workplaces. They will also be looking for evidence that everyone in the workplace knows his responsibilities for fall prevention under the Occupational Health & Safety Act and related regulations.
Inspectors will focus on:
• The duties of employer, supervisor and workers under the OH&S Act, and compliance with the requirements for fall protection contained in the regulations.
• Hazard recognition and controls, fall prevention best practices, adequate measures and procedures, and emergency planning.
• Safe use of ladders, including portable ladders, manufactured ladders, job-built ladders, and vertical ladders.
• Education and training of workers.
Make sure all your workers have received fall prevention training. If you’re in the construction business, that’s mandatory. Visit IHSA’s Working at Heights training program page for more information.
IHSA offers some other tips to help you and your workers get ready for the blitz:
• Guardrails and floor opening covers should be your first choice when it comes to preventing falls. They offer the best protection because they actually eliminate the fall hazard when they’re set up properly. With guardrails in place, you can’t fall because there is no open edge. With secured floor opening covers in place, you can’t fall because they eliminate the opening.
• From time to time, you may have to remove one or more guardrails to allow a delivery or access to certain equipment. Remember that before a guardrail is removed, everyone working in the fall hazard area must be protected by another form of fall protection. As soon as it’s possible, put the guardrails back.
• When it’s not possible to use guardrails, use a travel restraint or fall-arrest system and always tie off to a suitable anchor point.
• Avoid working from ladders. Use a work platform whenever possible.
• Always maintain three-point contact when you’re going up or down ladders, and when you’re climbing on or off vehicles or equipment.
• The best way to prevent slips and trips is to practice good housekeeping. Keep pathways and work areas clear of materials and debris.
• With snow and ice during the winter months, you need to take extra care to prevent slips and trips. Keep walkways, access areas, and stairs clear of snow and ice. Use salt or sand in those areas, and ensure your boots provide good traction.
• Stack materials neatly and secure them so that they cannot fall into pathways or work areas. Make sure the surface they are on can support their weight.
• Make sure that cords from power tools and lights don’t pose a tripping hazard. Fasten the cords to the floor or keep them away from pathways and work areas. Unplug them when they aren’t in use.
Visit IHSA’s Fall Prevention & Working at Heights page, where you’ll find posters, safety talks, and other resources to help you prepare for the blitz on slips, trips, and falls.