What are lifting devices?
Lifting devices can include, but are not limited to, cranes, forklift trucks, lifts, hoists, mobile elevating platforms and vehicle inspection platform hoists. This equipment is used for many things, from lifting a worker up to fix a broken cable line, to lowering a load of skids full of produce off a loading dock.
Lifting devices are used in thousands of workplaces and their continuing role is a significant cause of serious worker injury and death. A common feature of many of these incidents was a failure to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations. A lifting devices safety program that complies with the legislation will protect the safety and well-being of your employees and your business.
What the law says
Employers have a duty under Section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker, but there are specific regulations governing the safe use of lifting equipment depending on your industry.
Ministry of Labour (MOL) inspectors will be looking to ensure that employers are following these specific regulations as well as ensuring that employers are maintaining lifting devices to determine their load capacity and ensuring a lifting device is constructed and equipped with suitable ropes, chains, slings and other fittings, and maintained to ensure the safety of all workers. Review MOL inspection information.
Specific Occupational Health and Safety Act regulations include:
- Construction Projects, Regulation 213/91.
- Health Care and Residential Facilities, Ontario Regulation 67/93.
- Industrial Establishments, R.R.O. 1990 Regulation 851.
- Mining and Mining Plants, R.R.O. 1990 Regulation 854.
There are also CSA standards governing this equipment like:
- B17-08 - Overhead travelling cranes - Design, inspection, testing, maintenance, and safe operation
- B335-04 - Safety Standard for Lift trucks
- Z248-04 (R2009) - Code for Tower Cranes
- Z150-98 (R2008) - Safety Code on Mobile Cranes
How having a lifting device safety program can help your business
Lifting devices are an important investment for your business. They protect your workers from injury and protect the materials that are being moved from being damaged as a result of being dropped or mishandled. It is essential that these devices are installed (where applicable) correctly, maintained properly and operated only be competent operators. The potential for serious injury and fatality is considerable. There is also the potential for loss of supplies, finished product and damage to equipment and buildings. All of these result in additional cost to your bottom line, damage to your company's reputation, and poor employee morale.
What you can do
Equipment must be installed according to the manufacturer's specifications. Do not make any modifications to the equipment unless duly made by the manufacturer, his designate, or someone with appropriate credentials (e.g. engineer). Installations and modifications may be subject to pre-start health and safety review (PSR) under Section 7 of the Regulations for Industrial Establishments. You may need to conduct a PSR and implement compliance measures before a new or modified apparatus, structure, protective element or process is put into production.
Have in place a schedule of maintenance, again in accordance with the manufacturer's guidelines. Carry out regular and scheduled inspections of the equipment and initiate any repairs immediately.
Allow only competent operators to use the equipment; those that have been rigorously trained and ensure that they undergo refresher training, especially when new equipment is acquired.