Worksafe BC will be conducting an enforcement blitz to ensure compliance among roofers and framers working on single-family residential projects. The enforcement blitz called Stay on Top will run from June 25 to November 3, 2012.
“Falls from heights are a leading cause of serious injuries for workers in the residential construction industry,” says Al Johnson, WorkSafeBC director of Worker and Employer Services. “We hope the increased consultation, education, and enforcement provided by our safety officers will make an ongoing difference in preventing the often devastating injuries to workers falling from heights.”
The focus of these inspections will be to educate employers on planning, supervision, and safe access to the worksite in order to prevent injuries. However, employers should be prepared for the potential of fines for non-compliance.
Worksafe BC expects the following from employers (this includes contractors).
1. Employers must plan and supervise all work on site to prevent falls from heights. Worksafe will be looking at work from roofs, ladders, scaffolds, floor and roof openings. An employer is expected to monitor that workers or sub-contractors are following working from heights procedures. Work conducted at a height of 25′ or over requires a written fall protection plan that must be kept on site for reference.
2. Employers must ensure that workers use fall protection. It is not enough to tell them that they are expected to use fall protection. There must be a system to monitor compliance and follow through if workers are not complying. There must be evidence that there is a consequence for workers who do not follow procedures.
3. Fall protection equipment must be inspected and maintained. There must be evidence that fall protection is inspected before use. This could include notes in supervisor log books, an inspection checklist for fall protection gear or a record of regular checks for damaged equipment. WorkSafe BC officers may ask to inspect your gear. They have the right to remove damaged fall protection equipment out of service.
4. There must be a safe access to all work locations. Access and egress around foundation walls is an ongoing problem in residential construction. Also, there is a trend from local contractors to neglect framing in stairs before building the next level. WorkSafe BC regulations require that stairs are installed before work on next level begins. Access from one floor to the next by use of an extension ladder is not acceptable.
The expectation is that there is a suitable ladder, stairway, work platform, scaffold, walkway or ramp to access all work locations safely. This includes access and egress to excavations.
WorkSafe BC will continue regular inspections of construction sites during this time. Do not expect that a WorkSafe officer would neglect other safety requirements during the focus on working from heights. Employers should continue to coordinate all safety activities including first aid, site inspections, housekeeping and general safety training.
Safety Solutions at Work provides residential construction contractors with a practical and affordable program to manage their safety requirements.
For more information on the Worksafe BC Stay on Top Enforcement Blitz, check out www2.worksafebc.com/Portals/Construction/Home.asp. or contact Safety Solutions at Work.
More information about safety management can be found in your free report: Ten Key Safety Action Items You Can Do NOW to Prevent Your Company from Legal and Financial Ruin!