Nova Scotia launches fall protection awareness campaign
By Adam FreillConstruction Health & Safety
Construction Safety Coalition - 14 industry partners in Nova Scotia - aims to address risks and dangers of 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 the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) of Nova Scotia, the number of time-loss claims in construction involving falls in that province increased by nearly 50 per cent from 2021 to 2022.
To address the issue, the Construction Safety Coalition, a group of 14 organizations in Nova Scotia’s construction sector, has launched a new fall protection awareness campaign funded through the Occupational Health and Safety Education Trust Fund. The campaign targets employers and workers, as both have a responsibility in making sure people are working safe at heights.
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.
“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 and industry partners to raise awareness about fall prevention and help make sure more Nova Scotians work safe.”
In 2022, there were 15,259 days lost to workplace injury from falls in the construction sector in the province, with the most common injury types in construction being sprains, strains, fractures and dislocations. The coalition warns that falls can happen from ladders, elevating work-platforms, permanent structures like roofs, and temporary structures such as scaffolds and other types of work platforms.
“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 www.TieOffNS.ca. Nova Scotians can call 1-800-9Labour if they have questions about fall safety, or to report concerns about unsafe work.