Blog Post #556 – Fall Through a Skylight Deadly

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

A worker was fatally injured July 4, 2011, while renovating a vacation home on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast and fell through a skylight.

Preliminary reports indicate the employer of Weather Tight Supplies Ltd. fell through a skylight at about 1 PM, says WorkSafe BC spokesperson Donna Freeman. The worker succumbed to his injuries the following day, Freeman adds.

In British Columbia, an employer is required to ensure that a fall protection system is used when work is done at a place from which a fall of 3 m or more may occur, or where a fall from a height of less than three meters involves a risk of injury greater than that from the impact on a flat surface.

Falls from elevation are generally a problem in construction, says Grant McMillan, president of British Columbia’s Council of Construction Associations in Richmond. And fall protection training, awareness and compliance are particularly worrisome in small residential construction, McMillan suggests.

It is “very common” to see people working without fall protection and, unfortunately, because of that, we see a higher number of actions. A fall through a skylight should never happen.

Noting that a fall can literally occur in a split second, having another person on the site is a good thing to have generally, but it certainly is not going to help if a fall protection system is not in place, McMillan emphasizes.

The message to be taken from these “ongoing tragedies” is that stakeholders must take proper precautions, he says. “Workers have to be trained and there has to be adequate supervision to ensure training has stuck. This kind of thing is completely unacceptable.”
Weather Tight Supplies has been issued directives in the past. Last December, a work safe BC officer was called to a single-family residential site after the employer reported that a worker installing ridge capping was injured when he slid down a metal roof, notes and inspection history supplied by the Board. Though available, fall protection was not being worn, resulting in compliance orders being issued.

During a follow-up visit this past February, a work safe BC officer determine the employer was doing inspections “at intervals that would prevent the development of unsafe working conditions.”

My opinion

The new ‘Working at Heights’ legislation training concerns for Ontario have been implemented for the construction sector as of April 1, 2015. The Ontario government through the Ministry of Labour is attempting to qualify training companies to deliver the message to the Ontario workforce. The construction industry was chosen because falls are the leading cause of death and injury in construction today. The other three sectors which include industrial, health-care, and mining will have the message delivered over the next couple years.

HRS Group Inc. is working vigilantly to ensure that we meet the standard and be included on the MOL website as an approved provider. At the present, HRS group Inc. is understaffed and needs help to aid in the compliance. We are presently looking at hiring at least one new trainer so that our senior people can be freed up to complete the provider application.

Wish us luck!

Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Fall Protection’ and Working at Heights’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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