Blog Post #3 – Scaffold Accident Toronto December 24, 2009

Except from the OH&S Canada magazine

There are 61 charges laid against the ‘Metron Construction Company’ of Toronto and ‘Swing N Scaff’ of Ottawa. Five men fell, approximately 13 stories when the scaffold they were using to repair balconies snapped in half. One of the workers lived through the accident and had his legs crushed and his spine broken.

The 22 year old survivor, Dilshod Marupov, has since filed a lawsuit for $16.5 million against the two companies and the MOL has also issued 61 charges in the matter including Manslaughter and Criminal Negligence Causing Death.

As a result of the accident, the MOL initiated a plan that made February, ‘Fall Protection’ month. The MOL inspectors were out in force locating any and all companies not complying with the fall protection standards as required by the OHSA.

The standards differ from green book to green book. The Industrial 851/90 regulation is  different from the Healthcare Regulation 67/93 or the Mining regulation 854/90. All have sections covering ‘Fall Protection’ but the Construction Regulation 213/91 has the most in-depth sections covering Fall Protection since falls are the #1 killer in construction.

Fall Protection has two acceptable options;

1) Fall Prevention “ Engineering solutions including guardrail systems, and”
2) Fall Arrest  “The wearing of full body harnesses and shock absorbing lanyards, retractables or fall limiters and the use of horizontal and vertical lifelines”

Fall Prevention is always the best choice but it is not always practicable. Guardrails can be used in many applications and must meet height and force requirements. The top rails are to be 39 +/-  and the must be able to handle force requirements of 675 N of lateral force for the top rail and 450 N of downward force. The guardrail MUST have a mid rail and the force requirements are 450 N of either downward or lateral force. Toeboards must also be used if there is any chance tools or material can be dropped onto a workforce at a lower level. Scissorlifts and boom-supported elevating work platforms come with the toeboards as standard. (4″ or 5″ high and no gaps)

Fall Arrest is used when there is no other way to protect workers. All examples of fall prevention has been exhausted the workers STILL must be protected, therefore, a full body harness is used. It needs to be attached to either a retractable or a shock-absorbing lanyard which leads to an engineered or approved anchor point. The anchor MUST be able to withstand forces that be equal to the weight of a midsize car. (5,000 lbs) If a roofer is in need of protection then lifelines attached to roof peak anchors are required. Again, the anchors must be able to withstand fall forces up to 5,000 lbs. It also important to note that only one employee is to be attached to a lifeline at any time! No one but the supervisor was tied off at all!

The swing stage is also required to meet engineering standards.

More than 70 % of fall accidents could have been prevented if workers and employers were properly trained.

Remember In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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


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