Injuries from slips, trips and falls are on the Ministry of Labour’s radar with an inspection initiative planned for April 15 - July 12, 2019. Start getting ready now by strategically controlling hazards and raising awareness among workers.
The campaign is part of a province-wide slips, trips and falls initiative for all sectors that began March 18. Workplaces can expect a “higher level of inspection,” says Gord Leffley, Duty Consultant with WSPS. “And Ministry of Labour visits are more likely to produce orders.”
Here’s Gord’s take on what a strategic approach to slip, trip, and fall hazards looks like and what MOL inspectors will be checking for.
Follow your processes
Taking a strategic approach to slips, trips and falls prevention can strengthen your prevention program and reduce the risk of compliance failures. “Think through your work processes and do what you can to control hazards,” says Gord. He gives these practical examples:
- Working at heights - “Do people need to work at heights? Find a way to do the work so workers can stay at ground level.” One innovative firm installed light fixtures that could be lowered to the ground when bulbs required changing, says Gord.
- Falls at ground level - “Look at the floor surfaces and ask, ‘What can we do so that people are less likely to have a slip or fall?’” Gord cites a real-life example of a workplace with a 25-foot belt fryer in a refrigerated environment. The workplace’s solution: installing a handrail near the fryer and etching the floor tiles around it to create an abrasive surface with lots of traction.
- Falls from ladders - “Finding a way to get the work done without having to raise a person up is a sound long-term strategy,” says Gord. “And make sure people don’t use things that aren’t ladders as ladders. It’s a big issue.”
Understanding what inspectors will be looking for during the initiative can help focus your efforts. Typically, inspectors look for evidence that:
- you have a well-documented health and safety program in place
- employees are aware of hazards (e.g., through regular safety talks on slip, trip and fall hazards, posted warnings)
- employees are trained in slips, trips and falls prevention as well as working at heights
- you have made structural changes to reduce risks. “They’ll look at higher risk areas, such as entrances and exits, bathrooms, food preparation areas, and parking lots.”
How WSPS can help
- Register for a free Falls awareness webinar on April 5 at 10 a.m., hosted by WSPS and Ministry of Labour
- Fall Prevention Safety Training (classroom or onsite)
- Working at Heights eCourse (1 hour)
- Partners in Prevention 2019 Conference & Trade Show
- Visit fall prevention exhibitors at the trade show, including IHSA’s High Risk Display - all the information you need about working in high risk areas, including working at heights.
- Attend a session, “Leading Edge and Sharp Edge Fall Protection Applications,” and two half-day fall protection professional development courses.
- WSPS Safety Connection — Falls from Heights: What type of training do you need? Available at no cost, this 2-hour event provides a forum where health and safety professionals can connect, exchange ideas and share best practices:
- St. Catharines, March 27 and June 12
- Windsor, March 27
- Vaughan, April 3
- London, June 6
In our April issue, watch for an article on giving a slips, trips and falls safety talk.