Rooftop Safety

Beyond Compliance: Preventing Workplace Tragedies

Beyond Compliance: Preventing Workplace Tragedies

Here at Skyline Group, we’re often presented with stark reminders of the human cost of avoidable accidents. More than that, we’re presented with grave indicators of the potentially tragic consequences of designing safety solutions around mere legal compliance rather than ensuring total safety for workers at heights. We invite commercial property owners, building managers, facilities professionals, and contractors to discover how our approach to height safety not only meets safety requirements but most importantly exceeds them.

Decades of experience in height safety has taught us that meeting legal compliance standards simply isn’t enough. Our approach continues to be validated by what we see happening around us, and a recent ruling in the province of Ontario is a tragic – yet important – example.

In May 2023, a leading industrial manufacturer was fined a total of $325,000 after a worker died at its facility when replacing a pneumatic cylinder on a milling machine. The province found that the worker wasn’t wearing any protection when they fell 2.86 metres onto a concrete floor, dying from their injuries. In this sad case, the Ministry of Labor stated that the employer failed to take every reasonable precaution to prevent the fatal injury from happening, including “ensuring the worker used an adequate means of fall protection” as outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Protecting Lives: Learning from Example

Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act and related regulations set crucial safety standards, including mandatory fall protection above three metres, that can be seen in safety standards across Canada. Yet, the tragic incident highlighted above reveals that serious accidents can occur even below these specified heights, emphasizing the need for vigilant safety measures.

While no two elevated workspaces are the same, we’ve found that many of our safety solutions offer universal benefits. Keep reading to learn more about these solutions, with real-life examples of how they have transformed safety levels for workers at height.

Lifeline Ladders: A Critical Measure

Access Ladder
  • The Solution: One of the most effective ways to prevent falls from heights is through the use of lifeline ladders. Our lifeline ladders are equipped with stainless steel cables that enable workers to attach themselves securely via a harness. This system provides continuous fall protection, ensuring that workers are safe as they ascend and descend.
  • The Result: At the Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario, we implemented lifeline ladders to enhance worker safety. The facility maintenance team required safe access to the stadium’s floodlights for routine upkeep. By installing modular aluminum lifeline ladders with a base platform and a mid-way resting platform, we provided a secure means of access that significantly reduced the risk of a fall.

Modular Access Ladders: Where Flexibility Meets Safety

  • The Solution: Unlike steel or fully welded roof ladders or makeshift solutions like portable ladders, fixed modular access ladders can provide a safer alternative to gaining access to the rooftop. Skyline Group’s selection of modular aluminum fixed ladders are designed for easy installation and can be fully customized according to the needs of any elevated workspace. Fundamentally, these solutions provide safe and stable access to work areas at height, minimizing the risks of falls.
  • The Result: At BC Hydro, we addressed the challenge of navigating various roof levels by installing fixed modular aluminum access ladders. These ladders, combined with a safety gate, ensured that only authorized personnel could access the rooftop. The modular design allowed for easy transportation and installation, significantly reducing labour hours while enhancing the safety and efficiency of maintenance operations.

Guardrails & Barriers: Consistent Protection

  • The Solution: Guardrails and barriers are essential for creating safe work environments at height. These systems provide continuous protection, preventing workers from accidentally stepping off edges or into hazardous areas. Our non-penetrating guardrail systems are particularly beneficial as they do not compromise the integrity of the roof structure.
  • The Result: In addition to step ladders and access ladders, we installed non-penetrating guardrails at the McCain Foods facility. These guardrails created a safe perimeter around the rooftop, ensuring that workers could move freely without the risk of falling. The robust construction of the guardrails also ensured longevity and reliability, even in harsh weather conditions.

Creating a Culture of Safety: Training & Support

  • The Solution: Beyond installing safety equipment, it is crucial to ensure that workers are adequately trained in its use. Skyline Group offers comprehensive training programs that educate workers on the correct use of safety equipment and the importance of adhering to safety protocols. These programs are designed to foster a culture of safety within organizations, ensuring that safety is always a top priority.
  • The Result: As part of a significant design project for a commercial building in Montreal, Skyline Group delivered tailored and highly comprehensive training on the hazards that come with climbing to a rooftop via a hatch. This allowed architects to make informed decisions on creating a safe and compliant means of accessing the roof via hatch openings. Beyond that, this training facilitated a culture of safety throughout the lifespan of the project, and throughout the organization as a whole.

Preventing Workplace Tragedies: Your Responsibility

The lessons we must learn as members of the building community are clear: achieving safety in elevated workspaces demands more than just meeting minimum legal standards – it demands a commitment to exceeding them.

At Skyline Group, we’re passionate about pushing the boundaries of true safety in workplaces throughout North America. Partnering with a height safety specialist can drive positive change and consign such tragic cases to the past.

Elevated Work, Elevated Safety: Speak to an Expert Now

Ensuring compliance with minimum legal standards isn’t enough. Here at Skyline, we provide the expertise, solutions, and services you need to go beyond compliance and into true safety. To get started, browse our full selection of safety solutions or reach out to one of our safety experts for a consultation.

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