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Welder, 51, dies after fall at elementary school under construction

Worker fell about nine metres; oh&s authorities investigating


(Canadian OH&S News) — A worker at a construction site in Lethbridge, Alta. has died of his injuries after falling from a roof, according to information from the oh&s division of the province’s Ministry of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour.

Ministry spokesperson Wayne Wood confirmed to COHSN that the 51-year-old man was performing a task on the roof of an as-yet unnamed elementary school under construction, in the subdivision of Legacy Ridge, when the incident occurred on Aug. 5.

The worker, whose name has not been publicly released, “was doing some welding and fell off the roof at a distance of about nine metres, so around 30 feet,” said Wood. “And he was transported to the hospital in Lethbridge, and he died shortly after arriving in hospital.”

Following the accident, the man’s employer put a voluntary stop-work order on the construction site in order to allow oh&s authorities to examine the accident site and ask questions.

“Our investigators are doing their investigation as we speak,” said Wood.

Because only preliminary information about the incident was available, it was unclear at COHSN press time whether the victim had been wearing any fall-protection equipment while working on the roof just before the fall.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) in Hamilton, Ont. notes on its website that welders occasionally work in dangerous locations, including heights. Welders who perform tasks while on ladders or on platforms and scaffolds need to be vigilant about the inherent safety risks, the site notes.

“Inspect ladders or scaffolding before using,” the CCOHS site reads. “Know how to use fall-protection equipment, and use where appropriate.” Fall-protection procedures are important to know for welders who work at heights, including on top of roofs, CCOHS adds.

Fall-protection equipment is essential and mandatory for anyone who’s at risk of falling three metres or more at his or her workplace. “If fall protection is required, establish a complete fall-protection program if one is not in place,” CCOHS advises. “The program should include training workers, selecting, fitting and inspecting the equipment.”

The Centre’s website provides advice on how to use, inspect and clean fall-protection equipment, which includes body belts, harnesses and lanyards. More information is available at http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/prevention/ppe/belts.html.