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FOUR DIE IN CANADIAN PLATFORM COLLAPSE

Alert issued after “worst industrial accident in 50 years “
  

On Christmas eve four workmen died when the suspended platform on which they were working fell 13 floors to the ground. A fifth worker survived the fall and is in hospital with critical injuries.

The incident has been described as “the worst industrial accident in Toronto in half a century” and the Ontario Ministry of Labour has issued a suspended work platform Safety Alert covering the safe use, maintenance and inspection of such platforms.

Inspectors will also begin a heightened enforcement campaign targeting fall hazards in the construction sector. As part of regular inspections, they will look for compliance with fall protection requirements, including appropriate fall-related equipment and adequate worker training. Ministry inspectors will have zero tolerance for non-compliance. The review will be completed within 90 days.

Comment:The cause of the incident has not been made public. However, it is likely that the Safety Alert will reflects investigator preliminary finding as to causation. UK users of such platforms would be advised to consider the implications of the alert for their own operations. HSE has published guidance on the safe use of suspended equipment during window cleaning.

Four workmen died in 1999 when a suspended platform fell from the Avonmouth bridge near Bristol.

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