Workers Health & Safety Centre

Workers’ deaths from elevated platform reveals gap in OHS regulations

Workers’ deaths from elevated platform reveals gap in OHS regulations
The deaths of two workers who fell seven storeys when their elevated work platform collapsed highlights the need to update Ontario’s construction safety regulations.

At a Toronto condo development site, the two bricklayers were working from a powered elevated work platform called a mast climber. The platforms are both a working surface and a means of lifting materials and workers. 

Ontario’s Regulation for Construction Projects (O. Reg 213/91 s 143-149) regulates certain types of elevated work platforms including rolling, self-propelled, boom-type, and vehicle-mounted aerial devices, and references their CSA standard. Mast climbers, increasingly used in place of traditional scaffolding, are a notable exception and are not specifically regulated. They are governed by CSA-B354.5-07 but without inclusion in a regulation, CSA standards are not mandatory. 

Elevated work platforms must be designed by a professional engineer and are legally required to include safety features like guardrails. As such, workers on elevated platforms are only required to use fall protection when the platform is moved.

Under Ontario’s new legal requirement for fall protection training employers are required to ensure untrained or inadequately trained construction workers complete a Ministry of Labour-approved, working at heights training program before they can work at heights and use fall protection equipment and systems. Fall protection includes travel restraint systems, fall restricting systems, fall arrest systems, safety nets and work belts or safety belts.

Despite this, the new mandatory training may not have applied to these two workers even though they were exposed to fall hazards. The new requirements came into force April 1, 2015 days after the two workers fell to their death.

WHSC’s comprehensive one-day Working at Heights training course was among the first to receive MOL approval. It is designed to ensure real learning takes place. After successfully completing our program, participants receive a WHSC record of training card valid for three years.

Register now for any one of our scheduled courses. (Courses are listed alphabetically, be sure to scroll to the bottom.)

Download and share:
WHSC Working at Heights training schedule
WHSC Working at Heights Training product sheet
To learn more:
Email or
Call 1-888-869-7950 and ask to speak to a training services representative.