September 15, 2015
The Ministry of Labour has provided an advisory on working at heights.
The ministry advises that elevating work platforms can be a safer alternative than working from a ladder or scaffolding, if the equipment is used properly.

The ministry suggests that because of the ready availability through rental or lease arrangements, elevating work platforms have become more accessible and widely used. “Workers must receive training on how to use this equipment properly and safely, as improper operation of this equipment can result in serious injury or death,” says a ministry notification.

Hazards associated with using elevating work platforms can be avoided when the equipment is:
  • used in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions
  • used within design specifications and maximum rated capacity
  • regularly inspected and tested
  • properly maintained and stored

The ministry recommends that prior to operating the equipment, proper work planning should be carried out to identify potential safety risks, such as manholes or utility covers, uneven or unstable ground, overhead obstructions and electrical conductors.

All workplace parties, such as employers, supervisors and workers, share responsibility for ensuring compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations.

Obligations under the OHSA and Construction Projects Regulation related to elevating work platforms include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • The elevating work platform must be designed, manufactured and tested in accordance with the applicable standard of the National Standards of Canada prescribed in section 144.
  • The elevating work platform: must not be loaded in excess of its rated working load; must be used on a firm and level surface; must be operated only in accordance with the written instructions of the manufacturer; must not be loaded and used in such a manner as to affect its stability or endanger a worker; cannot be moved unless all workers on it are protected against falling by a safety belt attached to the platform; and must be equipped with guardrails.
  • A worker who operates an elevating work platform must be given oral and written instruction on the operation and be trained to operate the class of equipment before using it for the first time.
  • The equipment must be maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

For more information on obligations under the OHSA and the Construction Projects Regulation, visit the Ministry of Labour webpage at http://gfl.me/x2Cb.