Getting Around the 4-Foot Tie-Off Rule
Whether it is whilst clambering upon service platforms, truck trailers or machinery, there are constant fall dangers present for those who work in Canada’s heavy industrial and mining sites. To protect those workers, regulations are in place for the use of fall arrest systems over a certain height, depending on the industry.
Generally—or in the case of Ontario, for example—, the Working at Heights (WAH) Training Standard requires a personal arrest system to protect from:
1. Falling more than 3 metres (10 feet)
2. Falling more than 1.2 m (4 ft) if the work area is used as a path for a wheelbarrow or similar equipment
3. Falling into operating machinery
4. Falling into water or another liquid
5. Falling into or onto a hazardous substance or object
6. Falling though an opening on a work surface.
- Section 26 of the Construction Projects regulation (213/91)
In mining and heavy industry, the minimum height for taking such measures has been lowered to four feet – the “4' Tie-Off Rule”. This involves the worker having to wear a harness and lanyard – not a problem, unless they have to carry out intermittent tasks where the outfit is not required, such as when unloading and loading flat deck truck trailers.
So, when one needs to comply, but doesn’t want to negatively affect the productivity or comfort of a worker, what can be done to allow full working freedom?
Canadian portable height access provider SafeSmart Access are ahead of the problem. For many years now, they have been designing and manufacturing work platforms that allow quick yet safe and compliant access to lower level heights.
SafeSmart’s Truck Loading Access Platforms and Access Stairs (a variation of their popular AdjustaStairs product) are specially-designed and made from aluminum to withstand constant use and harsh environmental conditions. The platform products in particular bring a higher level of flexibility to those working on and around flat decks – when the system is wheeled up to the vehicle and locked into place, you get instant edge protection via welded handrails and a wide walkway that is level with the trailer surface, creating a safe zone for the worker.
With this platform, a worker doesn’t actually have to stand on the truck itself during loading and tying off; all loading can be completed without a human foot taking up space on the vehicle if it needs to be filled to the edge.
Companies with sites in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and even Newfoundland are now using this system, and saving time and injury for their workers. And above all, the “4' Tie-Off Rule” is no longer a worry for them.