Working at heights is a potential safety issue for mobile equipment operators and heavy truck drivers at our Trail Operations in British Columbia. Operators often access the tops or backs of tall equipment to adjust canopies, remove ice and snow buildup, and adjust material weight.
In alignment with the best practices for working at heights, we identified that these employees and contractors were accessing equipment at heights of 3⎯4 metres, which could lead to a Potentially Fatal Occurrence if they fell.
To help control this risk, Trail Operations implemented an improved fall-arrest system in 2015 designed to prevent workers from injuring themselves when working at heights on these pieces of equipment. Trail Operations installed two fall protection towers on-site. While wearing fall protection, workers on-site can use these towers to access the tops or backs of large mobile equipment.
The system⎯similar to that used for railcar access⎯is equipped with a self-rescue device that safely lowers a worker to the ground if there is a fall. Each person using the towers is required to have fall protection training completed beforehand. Instructions on how to safely use the towers is also provided.
The fall protection towers went into service in the third quarter of 2015, and to date, the feedback from employees using the system has been positive.
The fall protection towers now in use at Trail Operations align with our High-Potential Risk Requirements (HPRR) for working at heights and are just one example of how we ensure that everyone working at our site goes home safe and healthy every day. The work done at Trail Operations has been shared with other operations so they can assess potential applicability.