NISKU, Alberta – Seventy-nine per cent of injuries on industrial work sites in Alberta are the result of a fall from heights over 8 inches.  This is a statistic being quoted by a WCB spokesperson this week in support of a new safety regulation to be implemented in Alberta.

The new regulation will require that any worker stepping onto, or off of, a step or platform above or equal to 8 inches from ground level, wear a safety harness anchored to an elevated point.  The crux, and focus of this new rule however, is to make the harness and tether mandatory while getting in and out of vehicles with a step height above 8 inches.  Whether attached to a roof rack or the interior grab handles, workers must tie off before stepping into and out of lifted trucks and SUVs on WCB required work sites.  The intent is to reduce lost time incidents and keep people working instead of injured at home.

Kraig Miles, WCB

From simple injuries like sprained ankles and twisted knee joint, to more severe bashed shins and complete body slams, the new tether regulation will help avoid injury in the face of certain accidental slippage. We realize that this new regulation will not be favourable with workers in Alberta, but we see it as a good start down the safety highway, and we appreciate the cooperation of all of Alberta’s industries to make this happen. – Kraig Miles, WCB spokesman.

WCB Inspector, Billy Boozel (bending over to the right), inspecting a truck near Grande Prairie during the 1-month trial period, trying to figure out if the step up to this truck is greater than 8″.
Mandatory safety decal

Unpopular as it will likely be, there are concessions the WCB is willing to make.  The cost of harnesses and tethers will be covered by an increase in WCB payments of 15% bi-annually, although the cost of the securing mechanism on the vehicle will be at the worker’s expense.  Also, harnesses can be made with softer material and smoother buckles than conventional industrial harnesses to enable more comfort when driving. Furthermore, workers will be required to purchase 2 reminder decals, one to be placed near the driver’s side door handle, and the other to be placed on the inside front windshield.

This is horseshit!  What the hell does some suit in Edmonton know about me and my Ford.  I lift it up so I can see better over those damn Nissan Smackshimas, and now I have to tie a rope to myself so I can get out of it safely at WalMart?  And what if I get in an accident and I’m tied to my damn truck?  Does EMS carry harness cutters now?  This is almost as stupid as Alison Redford getting that damn Smile Installation. – Jake Rodery, Suncor Site Manager.

The WCB plans to implement the regulation on December 1, 2013.  How well received it is, and how enforcement will be applied remains to be seen.  2P News will follow the story closely in the coming months and report on developments as they become available.


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