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Most Common WSIB Claim Injuries #2 – Scaffolding

Injuries are unfortunately a common occurrence in Canadian workplaces, and none more so than within the construction fields. Construction can come with a great deal of risk due to the nature of the work and the means with which it is completed. As much as we try to minimize incidents, accidents do happen and it is important to be aware of the risks to both yourself and others in your profession. If you are in the construction industry and find yourself working with scaffolds frequently, or if you tend to use them for another job, then this GE LLP blog post is for you.

The misuse of scaffolding is one of the most common causes of workplace injury and insurance claims with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) in Ontario. We at Goodman Elbassiouni LLP often meet employees who have been the victim of these sorts of accidents, and they all tell us the same thing: they wish they had been more careful. Whether a scaffolding accident is your fault or not, it is important to know the risks and take precautions in your work to prevent injuries from happening. As a construction worker in Ontario, you should have taken the “Working at Heights” course that is now mandatory across the province; however, if you have yet to complete this course, you should make an effort to do it immediately. If you do not work in the construction field, but find yourself frequently working at height, you can opt to take this course as well, as it can be beneficial to any related profession – it may well save your life one day.

In addition to the working at heights course, your employer should have walked you through the risks associated with your profession, including any scaffold use as per regulations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). OHSA guidelines change occasionally, and your employer should check to make sure that they are following current safety practices, at least once a year. They should also ensure that any necessary precautions are taken to ensure proper use and accident prevention including: proper training, keeping equipment in good working order, proper scaffolding installation with supports, keeping the work site clean and free of potential hazards, ensuring adequate decking, installing a ladder and guardrail if necessary, and the use of personal harnesses and fall arrest systems. Knowledgeable and well-trained supervisors should also be on site, overseeing workers’ practices and constantly checking that safety precautions are being adhered to.

If you feel as though your work place is NOT adhering to safe practices, you should inform your supervisor and tell them why. If your supervisor fails to rectify the situation or if your supervisors are aware of the risks and are choosing not to act on them then you should contact the Ministry to report their infractions. Remember, it is you and your coworker’s right to know about potential hazards and to refuse any work that you may feel is unsafe.


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