Falls are the number-one cause of critical injuries and deaths of workers at construction sites in Ontario. In September and October 2013, the Ministry of Labour is focusing on fall hazards in construction in a workplace inspection blitz.
Workers can be at increased risk of falling because of:
- missing protective devices (e.g., guardrails)
- unsuitable and/or poorly maintained guardrails and covers
- unguarded openings in floors, work surfaces or walls of buildings or other structures, including skylights in existing roof structures
- lack of appropriate personal protective equipment (e.g., equipment not available, not used, or misused)
- other equipment that is misused or in poor condition (e.g., ladders, scaffolds, and suspended access equipment)
- poor work practices (e.g., unclear job procedures, lack of training, or workers rushing to meet deadlines)
- poor lighting, slippery surfaces, inadequate “housekeeping” (e.g., a messy, cluttered work area) and other deficient working conditions
Appropriate methods for controlling these and other hazards must be included in construction site health and safety programs.
Some methods for controlling hazards leading to falls include:
- engineering controls
- personal protective equipment
- thorough housekeeping
- use of appropriate and adequate administrative controls