Working off the ground has always meant taking additional care, and those men and women who regularly perform this duty are diligent when it comes to safety. However, accidents still occur and the government of Ontario has recently launched new legislation that it hopes will curb the number of injuries and deaths. It governs how workers will conduct themselves when working on ladders, roofs or any place where they are not on the ground.
Workers affected by these new rules include ones that use a travel restraint system, a fall restricting system, a fall arrest system, a safety belt, a work belt, or a safety net. The legislation consists of 16 recommendations that will increase these workers’ observance of occupational health and safety laws. The aim is to educate through various learning campaigns, including online portals, web apps, and multimedia campaigns.
This legislation has an impact in the HVAC industry. I personally know of a situation where a worker fell off a homeowner’s roof while installing an air conditioner, and died. Very tragic indeed. The cost of training and outfitting employees to work above ground along with the attendant liability has become so great that AtlasCare has made the decision to phase out of doing this work by the end of the summer. While rooftop models have some repair advantages and are “out of sight, out of mind,” only a handful of homeowners actually have air conditioners that are not on the ground. We will work with our customers who are in this situation to help them find a solution. I believe it is only a matter of time before most residential HVAC contractors will refuse to install and/or service units that are not on the ground. While it is unfortunate that consumers will have less choice in this matter going forward, it is entirely understandable, given the situation.