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SCSA Fall Protection Tour Demonstrates Safety

Jun
19

Andrew Hann was on his way to a promising career when a workplace accident took his life in 2013 — he was just 25 years old.

Hann was a scaffolder working at a mine southwest of Saskatoon when he fell. On that day, Hann had gone for lunch but when he returned he didn’t have his fall protection gear with him. No one will know why he felt safe enough to continue with his work because Andrew Hann fell through an open hole in the scaffold and died.

His family wanted to turn their tragedy into an opportunity to promote workplace safety. In Andrew’s name a fall protection demonstration trailer was donated to the Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association (SCSA) and the Andrew Hann Memorial Scholarship was created for Occupational Health and Safety Practitioner program students at Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

Today, the trailer visits work sites, is present at safety meetings, North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) events and at industry safety days across Saskatchewan. Included with this trailer is an educational component and a visual component, both of which are intended to deliver impactful reminders of the importance of proper fall protection equipment.

“The point of this (Andrew Hahn) story is that this kind of tragedy can be prevented,” says Mike Moore, a safety advisor with SCSA. Moore goes on to say, “We can’t turn back time, but we can learn from this horrible incident. In fall protection training, we learn a lot of stuff in theory, but this (trailer) is a practical exercise that is visual. You can tell me things over and over, but when you show me, I believe what I see.”

During the SCSA Fall Protection demonstration, observers are introduced to a 165-pound Rescue Randy mannequin that is placed in fall protection safety gear and used in various demonstrations. With it, there’s an interactive discussion centred on proper anchor points and connecting components like lanyards and proper fits for harnesses.

The Rescue Randy is raised with a pulley system and dropped five feet.

“When he (Rescue Randy) hits, the actual impact is seen and heard,” Moore explains. In the first fall, there is no shock absorber in the lanyard. In the second fall, where the shock absorber is used, the force applied to the body are significantly less. In each demonstration the force is measured and shared with observers.

Moore shares that the reactions from observers vary, but mostly there’s a lot of shock and awe, with many leaving the demonstration with an appreciation for fall protection safety gear and practices.

“Our future construction workers really see just how important it is to use the right system for fall protection. For more experienced workers that may never use a system or have become complacent, we get to reapply this learning with them.

“Whether I’m 16 or 65, if I fall from 25 feet the outcome is not going to be very good,” Moore says. “The message is to make sure you trust your gut and don’t do anything you’re not comfortable doing. And just because you’re comfortable doesn’t necessarily mean you’re properly trained.”

The fall protection demonstration is one of six safety demonstrations offered by the SCSA. In 2017 SCSA Safety Advisors conducted just under 1,000 demos in 500 companies in the construction industry, reaching about 10,000 workers and youth.

To book a fall protection demonstration, visit - www.scsaonline.ca/media/safety-demos

To hear SCSA President, Collin Pullar in conversation with Sam Maciag on the topic, checkout our YouTube channel

For additional resources, like Tool Box Talks, visit - www.scsaonline.ca/resources