Lanyard Use in a Mobile Elevated Work Platform

Written by Jeff Thorne | Manager of Training and Consulting

Specific changes to O.Reg 213/91 – Construction Projects came into force on January 1st 2016, providing additional guidance as to how an operator of an elevated work platform is to be protected. Some of you know how much fun legislation is, and that sometimes it’s not that easy trying to interpret! Believe it or not, changes in the law require some clarification. I know…say it isn’t so!

Previously section 148. stated that an elevating work platform shall not be used unless all workers on it are protected against falling by a safety belt attached to the platform. This is old language; safety belts are rarely used, and there isn’t a distinction made between different devices, and so many other questions that could be asked!

Here are two clauses I’d like to focus on based on what the regulation now states:

  1. (1) An elevating work platform,

(d) shall not be moved unless all workers on it are protected from ejection by being attached to an adequate fixed support on the elevating work platform by a method of fall protection. O. Reg. 345/15, s .18.

(3) An elevating work platform that is a boom type or a vehicle-mounted aerial device shall not be used unless all workers on it are protected from falling by being attached to an adequate fixed support on the elevating work platform by a method of fall protection. O. Reg. 345/15, s .18

Clear as mud isn’t it? Clause 148. (1)(d) refers to a scissor lift, and making sure that the operator (worker) cannot be ejected while the platform is in motion. Section148. (3) refers to a platform that has a straight or articulating boom.

This begs two questions; what type of lanyard or device prevents the worker from being ejected, and does the worker need to be tied-off when the platform isn’t in motion?

In discussion with the Ministry of Labour, here is their official position for enforcement of fall protection on an elevated work platform.

Preventing ejection is a major concern. When using a scissor lift, a method of travel restraint must be used to prevent ejection when the equipment is in motion. It is not required when stationary as long as the worker is protected by guardrails. So in other words, no need to tie-off in a scissor lift when it is stationary.

With that being said, the worker should be protected by a non-energy absorbing lanyard, or a Type 1 self-retracting device designed for use when anchored below the shoulder. (Be prepared for the changes to CSA Z259.2.2-14 Self-Retracting Devices to be implemented by manufacturers in 2017)

If an inspector questions the method of travel restraint being used by the worker, the employer can provide manufacturers specs for the product with the travel restraint claim as proof. So don’t throw away owner’s manuals.

When using a boom type elevating work platform that is self-propelled or mounted on a vehicle, the worker must be protected from ejection and remain tied-off at all times. So here we see different requirements for different devices.

Many workers use 6-foot energy absorbing lanyards in either piece of equipment, as we can see, the official MOL stance states that this is not an acceptable practice.

In order for these changes to make sense, it’s important to remember that the anchor points in most elevated work platforms are designed for travel restraint, not arrest, so why use an energy absorbing lanyard?

As seen in our December Be Safe Newsletter


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