Tarping flatdeck load without fall protection gear nets $30K fine

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INNISFIL, Ont. — No one was hurt, but an Ontario company was fined $30,000 because someone could’ve been, when working on top of a flatbed trailer without a safety harness or other fall protection equipment.

A Ministry of Labour inspector was at a Jebco industrial workplace in February 2013 when he saw workers using a platform mounted to the blades of a forklift to tarp a flatbed load. The inspector watched as the worker climbed from the forklift onto the load, about 13 ft from the ground, and then perched on the edge of the load while trying to tarp it.

“The Occupational Health and Safety Act and Ontario Regulation 851 require that any worker exposed to the hazard of falling more than three metres must wear a safety belt or harness and lifeline (a fall arrest system),” the Ministry of Labour pointed out when announcing its punishment this week. In addition to the $30,000 fine, the company also had to pay a 25% victim fine surcharge. That money is used to assist victims of crime.

“Unsafe working at heights is one of the leading causes of fatalities and hazards at Ontario workplaces,” the Ministry announced.

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  • As a former flatbed operator, my biggest fear was having one of my drivers slipping while tarping some odd shaped machinery in some far away place. I used to sound like an old woman nagging them to always take their time and be careful. I doubt it helped, but no one ever got hurt. It was also one of the reasons I paid them hourly to tarp instead of a flat rate. That said, this fine is a bad precedent when we have no control of the jobsite, but all the responsibility. Maybe someone will invent a 14 foot wide roll kit! I’m sure glad we are federally regulated, and not under MOL jurisdiction.

  • Only a fool stands right on the edge of the load while tarping, especially in winter. Stay in the middle of the load. The labour board has a job to do; I understand that, but although a typical fall protection system will prevent you hitting the ground if you fall, I find most of them constricting movement (in all the wrong places), so you’re far more apt to fall in the first place. Also, just because you don’t hit the ground doesn’t mean you won’t hit something else on the way down. It’s an occupational hazard that calls for caution, and common sense. Bubble wrap it all you like, it’ll never be bullet-proof safe.

  • And where do you find a sky hook to attach the harness too. The Ministry needs to implement some standard apparatus requirements, thus shippers and receivers will have the necessary equipment on site. The cost to manufacturers would be astronomical, but likely cheaper than a $30,000 fine. Many carriers have gone to Rolltarp trailers, but they still have limitations, when going to oversized product. As well the MOL need to show some discretion, in training and not fining people.

  • Having spent 30 plus years driving and tarping loads I have a real understanding of the safety aspect of tarping and the number one solution is for nobody to leave the ground …upon my retirement I invented and developed a system called SWIFTARP….a quick efficient device that saves time and money and nobody leaves the ground

  • I too have nearly 20 years over the road as a long haul driver and agree with comments made here. In my experience some places had fall arrest systems in place and they were used by some, others chose to go it solo. I only fell off a load once by doing something stupid and never got significantly hurt but never was that careless again. All in all if common sense was used and agility wasn’t a problem things weren’t too bad but the potential for disaster was still prevalent. In addition to my experience fee’s levied and paid to O/O’s and or drivers wasn’t worth the time, aggravation and or expense if tarps got ruined because of unprotected sharp edges by shippers not assisting in packaging some materials. On one occasion a shipper asked “don;t you guys have disposable tarps”, $50-$100 per load doesn’t even cut it when one has to repair or replace tarps, let alone the time required to tarp some loads. The potential for falls or accident is always present especially while operating flat deck equipment.

    I suffered severe workplace injury from slip/fall. The Saskatchewan WCB made my multiple injuries 100 times worse. My health recovery was deliberately “Snuffed Out” by claims adjuster at WCB Sylvia Tarasoff. In Canada when suffering workplace injury, you are discriminated from receiving Canadian Universal Health Care or Provincial Health Care: The ONLY investigation / treatment you are allowed to receive, MUST be approved by Workers Compensation;

    I was injured 10 years ago, WCB Saskatchewan are truly a “Gang” of psychopathic predators, who deliberately deny physicians requests for investigation / treatment of workplace injury.

    I have been made to appeal multiple times and only recently discovered at every appeal WCB used falsified / fabricated lies, to deny appeals. I was deliberately denied “Full Disclosure” of claim file information, so I wouldn’t discover WCB are “Blatant Liars”

    Here are some stats:
    2 years to diagnose broken back;
    5+ years to diagnose 2nd spinal injury;
    36 months to obtain MRI which showed need for surgery, but denied by Non-medical claims adjuster @ WCB;
    5 years to obtain MRI after workplace injury. due to WCB denial;
    In 2013, I sent my MRI scan for 2nd opinion, and discovered they were never properly evaluated, multiple spinal injuries were missed;
    My HORROR STORY is far from over: It’s been 10 years since injury, and I haven’t received treatment for workplace injury which is causing total disability, severe intractable pain flares;
    FYI: If you suffer workplace injury, DO NOT TRUST WCB or any Contract doctors, radiologists etc.
    Follow us at facebook; “Saskatchewan WCB Crimes Against Injured Workers”