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From May 6–10, 2019 Ontario’s Ministry of Labour is asking workplaces to participate in Ontario’s second annual Falls Awareness Week (FAW). FAW aims to bring awareness to the fall hazards that exist in every workplace, through workplace discussion and participation.

During FAW, workplaces are encouraged to stop work for 15–30 minutes to have a safety talk about fall hazards, specific to their work environment.

In 2018, FAW targeted falls from heights in construction workplaces. This year, the campaign is bringing attention to all types of falls in all sectors.

Falls Awareness Week aims to create a positive change in workplace culture through the sharing of knowledge and experience. As part of a workplace’s Internal Responsibility System, all workplace parties have a role to play in maintaining a healthy and safe workplace.

How to participate in Falls Awareness Week

Workplaces can participate in Falls Awareness Week by stopping work and taking 15–30 minutes—anytime during their workday from May 6–10, 2019—to hold a safety talk about preventing falls in the workplace.

Safety talks focus on addressing a key workplace hazard, such as working at heights, and facilitating an environment of open communication where workplace questions and concerns can be addressed.

How to hold a successful falls safety talk

1. Plan ahead. If possible, you may want to designate a coordinator to organize your safety talk. Think about asking owners, managers, subcontractors, supervisors or others associated with your project or workplace to participate.

2. Review your fall prevention program. Think about what types of falls could happen at your workplace, what needs improvement, and what training and equipment you have provided to your employees. Is there room for improvement?

3. Develop a safety talk that will meet your needs. Decide what information will be best for your workplace and employees. The meeting should provide information to employees about hazards, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies, goals and expectations. Hands-on exercises (such as a workplace walk-around or equipment checks) can increase interest. Try to make it positive and interactive. Let employees talk about their experiences and encourage them to make suggestions. See the Resources section for materials on falls that the health and safety associations (HSAs) have developed to assist workplaces in hosting a safety talk.

4. Decide when to hold the safety talk and how long it will last.

5. Promote the safety talk. Try to make it interesting to employees. Some employers find that serving snacks increases participation.

 6. Hold your safety talk and follow–up afterward. If you learned something that could improve your fall prevention program, consider making changes.