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Alert: Elevating Work Platform Crushing Hazard

  • Issued: April 27, 2016
  • Content last reviewed: April 2016

Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help the workplace parties understand some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations. For further information please see full disclaimer.

Hazard summary

Recent incidents investigated by the Ontario Ministry of Labour involved workers on an elevating work platform being trapped or crushed between the work platform or basket and an obstruction like the ceiling or a beam. Some incidents occurred as a result of workers not being aware of their proximity to these hazards or control functions being inadvertently actuated by the worker’s body while near the hazard.

Location and sectors

Workers accessing heights using an elevating work platform at workplaces throughout Ontario.

Regulatory requirement

Identified hazard

Workers are at risk of being trapped or crushed when operating elevating work platforms. These incidents have involved the operator or other worker being trapped or crushed against fixtures or other obstacles while accessing their work area, or while working at height. Workers have been injured or killed after being trapped or crushed between the railings or control box and obstructions. The incidents could have been prevented by correct planning and preparation, selection of appropriate machinery and proper use.

All workplace parties are to assess risks of trapping and crushing hazards regarding elevating work platforms at their workplace prior to the operation of the equipment. The key to preventing trapping or crushing accidents must be task, equipment and site-specific risk assessment.

Risk assessment should include factors such as travelling to and from the work area, accessing the work, lighting conditions and working at heights.

Elevating work platforms shall be maintained to ensure that the safety factors of the original design are functional, including all controls and safety decals.

Elevating work platform operators are to be trained and familiar with specific equipment and follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions.

Required action

  • All workplace parties are to assess risks of trapping or crushing hazards.
  • Employers and supervisors must take the lead in identifying when trapping or crushing risks are present in the work activities they control. Where trapping or crushing risks are present, extra care is needed and all involved must understand what action is required to avoid or reduce the risks involved.
  • Emergency controls must be located and tested.
  • Ensure that effective rescue procedures have been established should a worker become trapped or crushed.
  • Ensure equipment is be maintained as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Ensure controls and safety devices are operating properly and control decals are legible.
  • Particular attention should be given to lighting levels – additional task lighting or personal lighting may be necessary.
  • Elevating work platform operators are to be trained and familiar with specific equipment operation and follow manufacturer’s operating instructions. Conduct pre-operation inspections as per the manufacturer’s operating manual.
  • The operator of an elevating work platform must be aware of their position in tight areas. Subject to the findings of the risk assessment, an operator should operate the machine with extra care when working near obstructions.
  • Operators working alone in restricted areas may be at risk, as others may not be aware of any distress if the worker becomes trapped or crushed. Constant monitoring and/or communication should be considered, as delay for assistance to the worker may prove fatal.

For more information

Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Partners

Contact the Ministry of Labour Health & Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008.

Remember that while complying with occupational health and safety laws, you are also required to comply with applicable environmental laws.

Permission is granted to photocopy Ministry of Labour alerts. Please distribute them widely and post them where people will see them.

Disclaimer: This web resource has been prepared to assist the workplace parties in understanding some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the regulations. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation.

It is the responsibility of the workplace parties to ensure compliance with the legislation. This web resource does not constitute legal advice. If you require assistance with respect to the interpretation of the legislation and its potential application in specific circumstances, please contact your legal counsel.

While this web resource will also be available to Ministry of Labour inspectors, they will apply and enforce the OHSA and its regulations based on the facts as they may find them in the workplace. This web resource does not affect their enforcement discretion in any way.