Emerging Risk: Falls from Height

Incident reduction through better training and orientation

Over the past five years in BC’s manufacturing sector, there have been 2,203 falls from height, resulting in claim costs of over $64 million. This represents 6.7% of all manufacturing claims and 9.3% of all claim costs in manufacturing.

Sung Hyun Jeong, Keith Panel Systems’ Health and Safety Manager, is responsible for preventing fall protection incidents for KPS employees and for implementing industry best practices in KPS’ safety programming.

Says Sung: “We make it a priority to ensure workers are safe and able to go home at the end of the day. Everyone working at heights has to have a fall protection card which shows that they are qualified and knowledgeable about working at heights, ”

Even with a good safety program, KPS recognized that many companies were requiring the Certificate of Recognition or Occupational Safety Standard of Excellence as a baseline, so they asked the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC (Alliance) to lead the company through the certification process.

We wanted to challenge ourselves to do better. We saw working towards the December 2017 audit as an opportunity to confirm many of our policies, clarify others and improve documentation.

Our Alliance advisor was a great help in streamlining the forms for the daily inspections of the lifts and laid out a clear path for continued improvement.

Before achieving certification, an Alliance advisor worked with the team to ensure all elements in the OHS Management System were in place including documentation, training and implementation.

From the first day of work, a new KPS installer’s orientation lays out the hazards of working at heights and the fall protection systems used.

Fall protection is required in BC when a fall of three metres (10 feet) or more may occur or if a fall from a height of less than three metres could result in a serious injury.

All KPS workers working at the site receive fall protection training if they do not have a valid fall protection card. From there, depending on the type of project, workers will work at heights installing architectural panels from lifts including swing stage platforms, boom lifts, and scissor lifts. Each requires separate training for workers to be qualified to work on them.

Following changes in the CSA standards, KPS workers now complete a six-hour swing stage awareness training module including more hands-on training and a lecture.

This is an increase from the four-hour session they had previously completed.

A site specific health and safety orientation is held at the beginning of each new project and each lift has a daily documented safety and maintenance check prior to the start of the shift. “At all times on any of the machines all workers must be properly tied off,” says Sung. It’s all part of the company’s commitment to minimize the chance of any incident.