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The Guardian Fall Team Blog

In Burnaby British Columbia, a 26-floor glass tower is slowly taking shape. When completed, it will house 180 suites. It is known as the Polygon Luma. An artist’s rendition of the building shows a modern, cutting edge building that is the perfect addition to any 21st century skyline. Unfortunately, the construction site is making mistakes that would fit better in the 20th century.

A sixty-year-old man installing a grate over the top of a ventilation shaft on one of the lower levels, slipped and fell sixteen feet. Preliminary reports say that he wasn’t tied off and wasn’t wearing any fall protection. The last news reports say he was in stable condition. He wasn’t new to the site or new to the construction industry. He was a professional with years of experience. And his injuries were entirely avoidable.

In Pottstown, Pennsylvania, a 47-year-old man named Kevin Sensenig was showing three other roofers the work that needed to be done on a power plant building when he and another worker fell through an 8’ by 8’ hole in the roof. Sensenig landed in a coal bin and died on the scene. He was not wearing any fall protection. The other worker had a personal fall arrest system on and had non-life-threatening injuries. Though there was a crane on-site, it took over an hour for firefighters to perform the confined space rescue.

These are just two recent incidents where a lack of fall protection resulted in a death. A quick glance at The Weekly Toll, will show that these things happen all the time. The Weekly Toll is a website dedicated to people killed on the job. Every week, they post the location, cause of death, and name whenever available of people who had died while doing their job. It’s a sobering reminder that every day can be our last if we aren’t careful.

When anyone dies, it’s a tragedy, but it’s even more of one, when that death could have been prevented. The fall protection industry exists to stop these needless deaths. The incident in Pottstown could have easily had two casualties if the other roofer had not been wearing the right equipment. This incident perfectly illustrates that sometimes the difference between life and death is the use of proper fall protection.