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Fall protection awareness campaign targets employers, workers

April 5, 2023  By Don Horne

Construction Safety Coalition — made up of 14 industry partners — is coming together to address falls from heights

Every year, construction workers die on the job or are severely injured as a result of improper fall protection when working at heights. According to data from WCB Nova Scotia, from 2021 to 2022, the number of time-loss claims in construction that involved falls increased by nearly 50 percent, from 100 in 2021 to 149 in 2022.

In 2022, there were 15,259 days lost to workplace injury from falls in the construction sector. The most common injury types from falls in construction are sprains/strains and fractures/dislocations.

“Everyone deserves to come home safe from work, and we can make sure that happens by always using fall protection equipment, and using it properly,” said Jill Balser, Minister for the Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration. “We’re pleased to be working with Construction Safety Nova Scotia (CSNS) and industry partners to raise awareness about fall prevention and help make sure more Nova Scotians work safe.”

To address this issue, a total of 14 organizations making up the Construction Safety Coalition have come together to launch a new fall protection awareness campaign funded through the Occupational Health and Safety Education Trust Fund.

“I am tired of driving by sites and seeing workers with their safety harnesses on but not tied off. There’s just no excuse. A harness can save your life but not unless it’s tied-off,” said MJ MacDonald, CEO of Construction Safety Nova Scotia (CSNS), which is heading up the campaign along with the government of Nova Scotia’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Division. “I am hopeful that this campaign will remind everyone working at height on construction sites that this behaviour is not okay. If you won’t do it for yourself, please do it for your loved ones.”

Resources and legislation pertaining to employers and workers can be found at Employers are responsible for ensuring a safe work site and that all proper fall protection systems are in place and procedures followed, while workers have a responsibility to ensure they are tied-off and using fall protection properly.

Nova Scotians can call 1-800-9Labour if they have questions about fall safety, or to report concerns about unsafe work.

“At Flynn Canada, safety is and always will be a top priority,” said Eric Veniot, Atlantic Regional Vice President, Flynn Canada. “Due to the nature of our work in all scopes, proper training in fall arrest and fall restraint is a key focus item to ensure a high level of competency on our crews and job sites. Safety is not only a top priority with the ‘Flynn Family,’ it is also a shared responsibility.”

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