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Construction access and fall protection equipment continue to be areas of concern

Safe use of access equipment and fall protection continue to be the two major health and safety concerns related to access equipment on construction projects, according to the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

The Ministry recently released results from an August 2011 blitz involving all types of access equipment at Ontario constructions sites. Inspectors checked on compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations.

From Aug. 1 to 31, 2011, ministry inspectors conducted 998 visits to 903 workplaces and issued 2,955 orders under the OHSA, including 243 stop-work orders.

More than 16 per cent of the orders were for contraventions related to the unsafe use of access equipment and more than 10 per cent of orders pertained to fall protection. Inspectors also noted a lack of compliance with personal protective equipment and housekeeping requirements.

The most commonly issued orders were for lack of adequate supervision and training, and inadequate implementation of a well functioning internal responsibility system (IRS).

Between 2003 and 2008, more than one-third of fatal falls involving construction workers involved access equipment. In total, 61 construction workers died from falls at construction sites. Of those, 24 fatalities involved access equipment.

On Dec. 24, 2009, four workers fell 13 storeys to their deaths when a swing stage came apart at a Toronto construction site. A fifth worker survived the fall. This incident prompted a review of Ontario’s occupational health and safety system which led to ( read full story )

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