Since section 26.3 is very extensive, I will break up the description into two or three separate blogs to cover all the information and for my interpretations of the law.
Section 26.3 (1) states,
“Despite paragraph 1 of section 26, a guardrail system that meets the requirements of this section shall be used if a worker has access to the perimeter or an open side of any of the following work surfaces and is exposed to a fall of 2.4 metres or more:
1) A floor, including the floor of a balcony or mezzanine;
2) The surface of a bridge;
3) A roof while form-work is in place; and
4) A scaffold platform or other work platform, runway or ramp.
Section 26.3 (2) states,
“One of the following precautions shall be used to prevent a worker from falling through an opening on a work surface:
1) A guardrail system that meets the requirements of this section;
2) A protective covering that;
i. Completely covers the opening;
ii. Is securely fastened,
iii. Is adequately identified as covering an opening,
iv. Is made from material adequate to support all loads to which the covering may be subjected, and
v. Is capable of supporting a live load of at least 2.4 kilonewtons per square metre without exceeding the allowable unit stresses for the material used.
As a trainer of Fall Protection and Scaffold Erection Competency, I am totally blown away with the lack of training workers have had in this area. Many workers are moving around scaffolds without ‘Fall Restricting’ devices. Workers do not recognize the fall hazards in the workplace as they are required to do as part of the competency training standards set forth under the ‘definitions’ section of the OHSA.
Section 1.1 of the OHSA states,
“Competent person” means a person who,
a) Is qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organize the work and its performance
b) Is familiar with this ACT and the regulations that apply to the work, (in this case, the Construction regulation 213/91)
c) Has knowledge of any potential or actual danger to health and safety in the workplace.
For part ‘C’ I have reworded and gave our company’s interpretation which is,
“To know the hazards associated with the regulations or the provided training.” (in this case, Fall Protection)
We need to encourage companies to not only take ‘Fall Arrest’ training but receive ‘Fall Protection’ training as well. To be competent under the OHSA one needs to be able to recognize a fall hazard and avoid it. Wearing a fall arrest harness appropriately is only half the battle. If one doesn’t realize the danger and is not prepared for the possibility of a fall, then wearing a harness and not attached to an anchor support is not only foolish but dangerous and unacceptable.
Ask the MOL in the advent of a fall accident. They will ask for all training records, renewal training records and they may look for possible disciplinary reports showing ‘Due Diligence’ on the behalf of the company enforcing the current ‘Fall Protection’ standards. If you do not have any or all of these, then your company, and possibly your supervisor, may be subject to discipline as they can be viewed as contraventions under the OHSA.
Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.