TORONTO — The most recent Council of Ontario Construction Associations (COCA) newsletter reports that falls continue to be a major cause of workplace injury in the construction sector.
COCA notes that in his report to the Provincial Labour-Management Health and Safety Committee, the provincial co-ordinator for the Ministry of Labour’s (MOL) Construction Health and Safety Program, Brian Barron, recorded injury and fatality statistics reflecting the MOL’s recently expanded definition of "critical injury." The new definition captures more types of injuries than the previous definition, so a comparison of current data with last year’s is not a true comparison, indicated the source.
There was one fatality in the month of May. It occurred when a worker fell approximately 25 feet while working on the trusses of a barn.
There have been seven fatalities in the construction industry in the first five months of 2017 versus only four last year, reports the MOL.
There was a total of 13 critical injuries in May. Eight were the result of falls. One incident involved critical injuries to two workers. There have been 88 critical injuries so far this year versus 40 last year.
Under Ontario law, employers have the duty to ensure that the fall protection system selected is appropriate to protect the worker for the particular job or scenario that the worker is exposed to, notes COCA. The employer also has the duty to ensure that the workers understand the differences between the methods of fall protection and how to apply them to provide the greatest level of protection in line with the hierarchy of fall protection.
Falls are the number one cause of traumatic fatalities in the construction industry.