July 18, 2015 by STAFF REPORT
The Ontario Ministry of Labour has issued a warning for all construction crews using mast-climbing work platforms following the recent death of two workers.
Ministry of Labour Inspectors and Engineers undertook a review of similar mast-climbing platforms and determined any serious defects in the structural elements of mast-climbing work platforms could, if not addressed, significantly increase the likelihood of failure.
Suppliers and employers, including those who own, use, or allow such equipment to be used at a workplace or project are advised of the significant potential for these structures to collapse if they are not properly inspected and maintained in accordance with good engineering practice and manufacturer’s instructions.
Welds in the structural components of the work platform may have cracks, and in some cases may be missing. Weld defects may not be detectible by visual examination and non-destructive testing may be required to determine if cracks in welds are present. Critical welds may not be readily accessible for inspection and non-destructive testing without partially removing the deck and partially dismantling the platform.
Any structural deficiencies identified during an inspection of a mast-climbing work platform in load carrying members, including mast sections, platform sections and ties, will require the platform to be taken out of service immediately.
Corrective action to address structural deficiencies must be taken before the equipment is placed back in service.
MCWPs have become a common type of access equipment in the construction industry primarily in the restoration, masonry and related sectors, replacing traditional scaffold systems. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), employers and supervisors are required to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of workers (OHSA, clauses 25(2)(h) and 27(2)(c)). Parties must also comply with the requirements of the Construction Projects Regulation (O. Reg. 213/91).
Users of MCWP platforms should ensure that:
The OHSA imposes the following requirements regarding the maintenance of equipment:
CSA standard B 354.5-07(R2011), Mast-Climbing Work Platforms, provides current best practices for the design, manufacture, maintenance and testing of MCWP. However, based on the ministry’s recent observations of mast-climbing work platforms currently being used on construction projects, in addition to the annual inspection recommended in section 7.5 of CSA standard B354.5-07 it is recommended that: