HIGH RISK OCCUPANTS NEED NOT BE!
The advancement of our standard of fulfillment and pleasure always comes at some level of risk to the few daring individuals who are attracted to "risk for pay" occupations. This trade-off has always been accepted by the daring few, sometimes with unpleasant consequences!
Working from heights has traditionally been one of those occupations where the risk is high, the pay is good, and the protection against falling is lacking. Errors in judgement are severely punished with either fatal or long term injuries resulting from falls. Not surprisingly, iron work and window cleaning are two of the acknowledged most hazardous occupations listed by the Worker's Compensation Board.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour focuses its attention on high risk occupations in their enforcement policies. The penalty for violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Legislation has been increased from $50,000 to $500,000 with the latest revision. Employers are regularly fined in excess of $300,000 even when an injured worker has fully recovered. Jail terms for delinquent employers are not uncommon!
For the past five years great strides have been made in rewriting existing CSA Standards and developing new standards for the manufacture and testing of components of personal fall arrest systems.
Emphasis has been placed on replacing the safety belt with a full body (parachute) type harness. Full body harnesses distribute forces to areas of the body better able to absorb the shock of a fall arrest.
The introduction of shock absorbers to a fall arrest system reduces the peak fall arrest forces by distributing the forces over a longer period of time.
A proper fall arrest system should include the following properly designed components:
Attachment anchor Lifeline (if working at a level below the anchor) Rope Grabbing Device (if a lifeline is used) Shock Absorber Lanyard Full Body Harness
Each of these components should be considered as a link in a life saving chain. Each component must be chosen to withstand the expected forces of fall arrest and must be suitable for the work to be done.
Manufacturers of fall arrest equipment components have responded to regulatory initiatives with new designs and modification of equipment for special purposes, including: Confined entry Vertical access Ladder climbing protection Power climbing system First man-up systems and procedures Confined entry and retrieval systems
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Walters Forensic Engineering | 277 Wellington
Street West, Suite 800 | Toronto, ON M5V 3H2