PREVENTING FALLS FROM HEIGHTS: A PRIORITY FOR THIS MONTREAL AREA SCHOOL BOARD.
The Commission scolaire des Patriotes, which provides educational services to the population of 21 municipalities on the South Shore of Montreal recently completed a major project to make the roofs of buildings in its network safer for workers or subcontracteors who are required to work on a roof.
The Commission scolaire des Patriotes supports a vast network of 68 schools and education centers. Such a large building stock includes buildings of all types and ages. It is therefore obvious that protective equipment for roof access equipment were varied.
In this context, the effectiveness of fall arrest methods was limited and their application was uncertain. Indeed, personal protective equipment (PPE) offers personal and non-collective protection, and its use requires great discipline on the part of users as well as rigour that is difficult to maintain on a daily basis, increasing the risk of accidental incidents.
All roof access hatches were unprotected and sometimes located less than two meters from the roof edge. This situation does not comply with the Building Code. Indeed, an access hatch is considered, just like the edge of the roof, as a source of risk of falling and must therefore be protected by a fall arrest device.
In addition, this project follows the instructions of Division II, Section 3(c) of the Public Buildings Safety Act:
3. Duties of owners: Public building owners shall:
(c) supply and install permanently all necessary safety devices for maintenance employees. These devices include: anchors for flying-scaffolds, anchor-bolts for window cleaning, anchors for safety belts, guardrails, fastenings for guardrails along roof edges and roof openings; these devices must comply with section 50;
It was during a visit on the roof of one of the establishments that the occupational health and safety prevention supervisor first identified the problem. Once the situation of this building was noted, an investigation was launched with the other buildings of the network. In conclusion, 58 buildings presented one or more problematic situations to make code-compliant.
With the help of existing regulations, the Commission scolaire des Patriotes was able to release the necessary funds to launch the project. The organization commissioned the MSK Canada team to conduct a study and propose a solution to make the necessary correctives. Specialist in fall prevention and industrial protective equipment, MSK Canada recommended the access hatch protection kit from the Quebec manufacturer Delta Prévention. Made of corrosion-resistant aluminum, these guardrails make roof access hatches safe without having to perforate the membrane or the hatch itself, eliminating the risk of water infiltration over time. This modular and adaptable solution was therefore easily installed on 58 hatches of various sizes to completely eliminate the risk of falling.
In addition, there is another advantage to the Delta Prevention entrance hatch guard: it provides a convenient grip at the exit of the hatch, making access to the roof much easier and safer.
The installation was completed without any problems and 85% of the network’s buildings are now safer. Other phases of this fall protection project are planned to make each building area 100% safe.
‘MSK Canada took charge of the project independently and very professionally. The installation was done in time and their representatives were very available to us.
– Marie-Ève Proulx, Occupational Health and Safety Prevention Manager