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Elevating work platform dangers

The death of a New Brunswick carpenter after falling from an elevated work platform is a sobering illustration of the fact that heights don’t have to be extreme to be deadly. As detailed in a WorksafeNB Hazard Alert http://www.worksafenb.ca/docs/worker-dies-after-falling-from-an-elevating-work-platform-scissor-lift.html the worker fell 12 feet onto a cement floor. A subsequent investigation revealed that the end guardrail had been removed from the platform to accommodate 12-foot sheets of drywall. No fall arrest equipment or other precautions were taken to prevent a fall from the unguarded area.

This incident, and others like it, underline the critical importance of safe work habits and thorough operator training when working from an aerial lift. WorksafeNB especially cautions that:
• the platform size must be adequate to the work
• if guardrails are temporarily removed then precautions such as fall arrest equipment must be used
• safe clearance from overhead electrical lines must be maintained
• workers should never climb on guardrails or use ladders or other devices on the platform to gain greater height

The Ontario Ministry of Labour’s Fact Sheet # 17 www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/pdf/fs_workplatform.pdf details the duties of everyone at the work site and mandatory safe practices to protect worker safety when using elevating work platforms. As with other aspects of worker safety, the employer is responsible to ensure and document that appropriate and well-maintained equipment is provided, that workers are fully trained in its safe use, that supervisors are competent to oversee and enforce safe practices, and that workplace-specific safety procedures (including emergency procedures) are in place.

Act First Safety is pleased to provide Aerial Lift/Elevating Work Platform training. http://actfirstsafety.ca/training/instructor-led/aerial-lift-training/. This comprehensive program meets the requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Construction and Industrial Regulations and the Canadian Standards Association standards for elevating work platforms, including the scissor lift, skyjack, genie, zoom-boom and more. The training includes both theory and machine-specific hands-on instruction from experienced instructors, at the end of which operators demonstrate proficiency in the safe operation of their own workplace-specific equipment.

Don’t let a tragedy happen at your workplace. Why not review your policies and procedures around working from aerial lifts now, and ensure your operators have received the systematic, professional training that will prepare them to work safely?
For more information on Act First Safety’s Aerial Lift/Elevating Work Platform Training, http://actfirstsafety.ca/training/instructor-led/aerial-lift-training/ click on the link or contact our office: (1-855-260-7233/416-283-7233).

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