TORONTO — Ontario Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn and two other health and safety stakeholders have issued a statement lamenting a recent rise in deaths from falls in the workplace and urging employers and workers to focus on making workplaces safer.
The statement from Flynn, chief prevention officer Ron Kelusky and Infrastructure Health and Safety Association president and CEO Enzo Garritano was issued April 4.
“In the past few months, there has been a spike in workplace fatalities involving falls from heights. The families of these workers have been needlessly devastated by the loss of their loved ones,” said the release.
“As long as one family’s son or daughter fails to come home because of an incident at the workplace, we have more work to do. Workplaces should redouble their efforts to ensure that workers are safe, and that everyone understands their rights and responsibilities on the job.”
The message noted Ontario introduced mandatory training for working at heights in 2015 and close to half a million workers have received the training.
“The Ministry of Labour is reminding employers and workers to continue to take this training seriously, and to apply it, and to take refresher courses as they could one day save a life,” the release stated.
“Workers should also be aware of their right to refuse unsafe work, use their equipment properly and report any hazards.”
Flynn, Kelusky and Garritano said the start of 2018, in both the construction sector and other sectors in Ontario, has been “alarming.
“Employers, supervisors and workers should make it their highest priority to pause and review all work practices, especially those involving high risk activities like working at heights.”