Fall Protection

When exposed to the risk of falling, your fall-protection system may be all that keeps you from being seriously injured. There are many circumstances where fall-protection may be required; the following provides a summary of when fall-protection is required and what needs to be in place.

Fall-protection systems play an important role in protecting employees from injuries due to a fall. There are many different types of systems, including guardrails, travel restraint systems, fall-arrest systems and the use of warning lines and safety monitors . Falls can happen from ladders, permanent structures like roofs, and temporary structures such as scaffolds and other types of work platforms. Fall-protection systems are generally required when working at 3 m or more, when working above any surface that could injure an employee during a fall (working above a surface that has rebar could result in impalement and serious injury even if the fall is less than 3 m) or when working above an open top tank, bin, hopper or vat. Fall protection is also required when working from:

  • forklift platforms,
  • elevating work platforms,
  • fixed suspended work platforms,
  • swing staging,
  • boatswain's chairs,
  • suspended equipment,
  • personnel carrying equipment.

The best forms of fall-protection systems are those that prevent employees from falling and include guardrails (passive system) and travel restraint (active system). As a result, the regulation requires employers to first consider these systems ahead of other systems.

As an employer, you must:

  • Provide a fall-protection system when an employee is at risk of falling.
  • First consider the use of guardrails, travel restraint or fall-restricting systems Unless your employees are working on surfaces with slopes exceeding 6 in 12 guardrails are not permitted.
  • Ensure the components of the fall-protection system are designed, erected, installed, assembled, used, handled, stored, adjusted, maintained, repaired and dismantled according to the manufacturer’s specifications and meet the specified CSA standards as listed.
  • Ensure the fall-arresting system consists of the required components, including full body harness, self-retracting lanyard, energy absorbing lanyard or lanyard and energy absorber, and appropriate anchor point or horizontal life line.
  • Before any fall-arresting system is used, establish a procedure for rescuing an employee in an emergency and provide training on the procedure.
  • Remove, repair or destroy any component that was involved in stopping a fall.
  • Establish, maintain and inspect an anchor point.
  • Ensure an employee is instructed in the fall-protection system and in the post-fall rescue procedure before being allowed into an area where there is a risk of falling.
  • Establish a code of practice when employees are required to work from a height of 7.5 m or more, where a safety monitor and work procedure is used while weatherproofing , or as required by an officer.
  • Ensure that a competent person trains employees on use, maintenance and inspection of a fall-protection system, unless the system used is a guardrail, and that this training is documented and made available to an officer on request.

As an employee you must:

  • Always use the fall-protection equipment provided by the employer , as instructed by your employer.
  • Inspect each component of your personal fall-protection system before each use, and as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Report defective or inadequate equipment to your employer and not use the equipment.
  • Care for the fall-protection equipment properly while using it.

Note:

The above requirements do not apply when the work will not bring an employee closer than 3m from the unguarded edge of a surface with a slope of 3 in 12 or less, where an employee is installing, maintaining or removing a fall-protection system and has been instructed in the work procedures and hazards, or when weatherproofing an area of less than 23 m2 and the use of a fall-protection system is impractical.

General Regulation - Occupational Health and Safety Act
N.B. Reg. 91-191

Part XI TEMPORARY STRUCTURES

Section 129.1 Forklift Platforms

129.1 (1) In this section,

"forklift platform" means a work platform that is supported on the forks of an industrial lift truck.

(2) An employer shall ensure that a forklift platform

(a) is securely attached to the lift truck so as to prevent accidental movement of the platform or the tipping of the forklift,

(b) is designed and constructed of material of sufficient strength to support safely the loads to which it may be subjected, and

(c) if a manufactured platform, is erected, used, maintained and dismantled in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications.

(3) An employer shall ensure that an industrial lift truck supporting a forklift platform

(a) is on a firm flat surface to ensure the truck's stability, and

(b) is operated by a competent person.

(4) An employer shall ensure that a forklift platform is equipped with guardrails.

(5) Despite subsection (4), if it is impracticable to install guardrails when an employee is required to work from a moving forklift platform, the employer shall provide and the employee shall use a travel restraint system or fall-arresting system attached to an anchor point provided by the manufacturer or approved by an engineer.

(6) When a fall-arresting system is used, the employer shall ensure that the fall-arresting system does not interfere with the raising and lowering of the platform.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 40; 2010-159, s. 24]

Section 130 Elevating Work Platforms

130. (1) An employer shall ensure that an elevating work platform is designed, constructed, erected, maintained, inspected, monitored and used in accordance with the following CSA standards, where applicable:

(a) CAN3-B354.1-M82, "Elevating Rolling Work Platforms";

(b) CAN3-B354.2-M82, "Self-Propelled Elevating Work Platforms for Use on Paved/Slab Surfaces";

(c) CAN3-B354.3-M82, "Self-Propelled Elevating Work Platforms for Use as 'Off-Slab' Units"; and

(d) CAN3-B354.4-M82, "Boom-Type Elevating Work Platforms".

(2) If an employee is required to work from an elevating work platform described in paragraph (1)(a), (b) or (c), the employer shall provide and the employee shall continually use a travel restraint system or fall-arresting system attached to an anchor point on the elevating work platform.

(3) Despite subsection (2), an employee is not required to continually use a travel restraint system or fall-arresting system when an elevating work platform

(a) is on a firm and flat surface,

(b) has all the manufacturer's guardrails and chains in place, and

(c) is not moving horizontally or vertically.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 41; 2010-159, s. 26]

Section 140.1 Suspended equipment

140.1 (1) An owner of a place of employment, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure that every employee who works on or from suspended equipment shall

(a) have an effective means of summoning assistance,

(b) be protected from falling while getting on or off the suspended equipment, and

(c) use a vertical life line that is

(i) suspended independently from the suspended equipment, and

(ii) securely attached to an anchor point so that the failure of one means of support will not cause the life line to fail.

(2) An employer and a contractor shall each ensure that each component of the suspended equipment is inspected by a competent person

(a) visually at least once daily,

(b) before being used for the first time,

(c) as recommended by manufacturer, installer or designer and at least every 12 months, and

(d) after an event or after maintenance and repairs.

(3) If an inspection referred to in subsection (2) reveals a defect or inadequacy, no one shall use the suspended equipment and no employer shall permit its use until the defect or hazard has been eliminated.

(4) An employer and contractor shall each ensure

(a) that if the owner of a place of employment has provided the permanent or temporary anchor point that the anchor point complies with subsection 145.2(3), and

(b) that all components of suspended equipment are compatible with one another, the work environment and the type of work being performed.

[N.B. Reg. 2010-159, s. 28]

Section 141 Fixed suspended work platform

141. (1) An owner of a place of employment, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure that a fixed suspended work platform

(a) is designed and certified by an engineer as being

(i) able to withstand the stresses that are to be imposed upon it, and

(ii) fixed in such a way that the failure of one means of support or suspension will not upset the work platform,

(b) is equipped with guardrails,

(c) is provided with a safe means of access and egress for the employees using the platform,

(d) is suspended in a fixed position by adequate means securely anchored to the platform and to the overhead supporting structure, and

(e) when in use, is inspected daily by a competent person.

(1.1) The design referred to in paragraph (1)(a) shall

(a) set out the size and specifications of all components of the platform, including the type and grade of all materials to be used, and

(b) state the maximum live load of the platform.

(2) Despite subsection (1)(b), if it is impracticable to install guardrails when an employee is required to work from a fixed suspended work platform, the employer shall provide and the employee shall use a travel restraint system, a fall-arresting system or a safety net or make use of the control zone.

(3) An employer shall ensure that the planks of a fixed suspended work platform

(a) if made of wood, are of a minimum of 50 mm thick by 250 mm wide supported at intervals not exceeding 3 m,

(b) overlap the supporting ledgers at each end by at least 300 mm, and

(c) are laid tightly together and secured to prevent movement in any direction.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 52; 2010-159, s. 30]

Section 142 Swing staging and boatswain's chair

142. (1) An employer shall ensure that swing staging and boatswain's chair, when attached to a fixed support, are capable of supporting at least four times the maximum load to which the fixed support is likely to be subjected

(a) without overturning, and

(b) without exceeding the allowable unit stresses for the material used in the fixed support.

(2) An employer shall ensure that

(a) a hook used to suspend swing staging or boatswain's chair

(i) has safety devices to prevent dislodgement, and

(ii) is securely tied back to an anchor point capable of preventing the movement of the suspended equipment, and

(b) a thrust-out used to suspend swing staging or boatswain's chair

(i) is rigidly fastened to another thrust-out,

(ii) is securely tied back to an anchor point capable of preventing the movement of the suspended equipment,

(iii) is counter-balanced with sufficient solid material to ensure stability, and

(iv) has cleats or bolts fastened at the outer ends of the thrust-out to act as safety stops.

(3) An employer shall ensure that rope made of synthetic fibre or wire used to suspend swing staging or a boatswain's chair

(a) provides a safety factor of not less than ten, based on the ratio of the manufacturer's rated breaking strength of the rope to the static load,

(b) is securely fastened to the drum of a winch, and is of sufficient length to allow for at least three turns of rope on the drum when the swing staging or a boatswain's chair is in its lowest position or in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications, and

(c) is removed from use in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications.

(4) An employer shall ensure the materials used to support swing staging or a boatswain's chair meet the following requirements:

(a) if hangers are used, the hangers are made of wrought iron or mild steel with a cross section equal to 10 mm by 32 mm or a diameter of at least 19 mm and are securely attached to the platform or chair;

(b) if wire rope is used, the wire rope is at least 13 mm in diameter for the swing staging and 9 mm for the boatswain's chair; and

(c) if another material is used, it has been certified by an engineer as being of a strength equivalent to that prescribed in paragraph (a) or (b).

(5) An employer shall ensure that the platform of swing staging is not less than 500 mm in clear width and is either a ladder type platform or a plank type platform.

(6) An employer shall ensure that the side stringers, rungs and tie rods of a ladder type platform for swing staging conform to the following table:

LADDER TYPE PLATFORMS FOR SWING STAGING

Length of Side Stringers Width Between Side Stringers Cross Section of Side Stringers Rungs Tie Rods
At Ends At Middle Total No. Diameter Total No. Diameter
4.6 m 500 mm 50 mm x 70 mm 50 mm x 100 mm 10 30 mm 4 8 mm
4.9 m 500 mm 50 mm x 70 mm 50 mm x 100 mm 11 30 mm 4 8 mm
5.5 m 500 mm 50 mm x 80 mm 50 mm x 100 mm 12 30 mm 4 8 mm
6.1 m 500 mm 50 mm x 80 mm 50 mm x 100 mm 13 30 mm 4 8 mm
7.3 m 500 mm 50 mm x 80 mm 50 mm x 120 mm 16 30 mm 5 8 mm

(7) An employer shall ensure that the flooring of a ladder type platform on swing staging is at least 19 mm thick plywood or another material of equivalent strength.

(8) An employer shall ensure that the planks in a plank type platform on swing staging

(a) are made of wood and are a uniform thickness of not less than 50 mm,

(b) are tied together on the underside by cleats

(i) a minimum size of 25 mm by 150 mm,

(ii) securely fastened, and

(iii) spaced at intervals of not more than 1.2 m,

(c) do not exceed 3.7 m in length, and

(d) are located so that the span does not exceed 3 m between the fixed supports.

(9) An employer shall ensure that

(a) swing staging is equipped with a guardrail,

(b) two or more pieces of swing staging are not joined together, and

(c) swing staging is lowered to the ground or lashed to the building to which it is attached when employees leave the building.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 53; 2010-159, s. 32]

Section 144.1

144.1 An employer shall ensure and an employee shall continually use a fall-arresting system that meets the requirements of section 49.2 while on the swing staging.

[N.B. Reg. 2010-159, s. 35]

Part XV MATERIALS HANDLING EQUIPMENT AND PERSONNEL CARRYING EQUIPMENT

Section 231 Personnel Carrying Equipment

231. (1) In this section

"personnel carrying device" means a cage, basket or similar structure suspended from a hoisting apparatus and designed to transport persons.

(2) An employer and an operator of a hoisting apparatus shall each ensure that an employee is not lifted or moved by the hoisting apparatus unless a personnel carrying device is attached to the hoisting apparatus.

(3) An employer shall ensure that the personnel carrying device referred to in subsection (2) is attached to the hook of the hoisting apparatus and has an auxiliary fastening device attached directly to the hoist line of a single part line or to the sheave block of a multi-part line if the sheave block has a safe place to attach the auxiliary fastening device.

(4) An employer shall ensure that the hoisting apparatus, the personnel carrying device, the primary connection and the auxiliary fastening device are certified in writing by an engineer as being capable of safely lifting or moving any load likely to be imposed on them.

(5) An employee occupying a personnel carrying device referred to in subsection (2) shall use a fall-arresting system that is securely anchored to the personnel carrying device.

[N.B. Reg. 2010-159, s. 39]

Part VII PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

Section 38 General

38. (1) Where protective equipment is required to be used by an employee under this Regulation, an employer shall provide the protective equipment required and shall ensure that the employee is instructed and trained in the proper use and care of the protective equipment.

(2) Where protective equipment is required to be used by an employee under this Regulation, an employee shall

(a) use the equipment that is required in accordance with the instruction and training received,

(b) test or visually inspect the equipment before each use as appropriate to the type of equipment to be used,

(c) report any defective equipment to the employer and not use the equipment, and

(d) care for the equipment properly while using it.

Section 49 Fall-protection system

49. (1) The employer shall provide and the employee shall continually use a fall-protection system when an employee works from

(a) an unguarded work area that is

(i) 3 m or more above water or the nearest permanent safe level,

(ii) above any surface or object that could cause injury to the employee upon contact, or

(iii) above any open top tank, bin, hopper or vat,

(b) a work area that is 3 m or more above a permanent safe level and from which a person may fall if the work area tips or fails, or

(c) a work area where an officer has determined that it is necessary for safety reasons to use a fall-protection system.

(2) If an employee is required to work from a communication or power transmission tower or other similar structure 3 m or more above a permanent safe level, the employer shall provide and the employee shall continually use a fall-protection system when at rest and at the working level.

(3) If an employee referred to in subsection (2) is ascending or descending a communication or power transmission tower or other similar structure, the employer shall provide and the employee shall continually use a fall-arresting system.

(4) If an employee is required to work from a wood pole or other similar wood pole structure 3 m or more above a permanent safe level, the employer shall provide and the employee shall continually use

(a) a fall-arresting system when the employee is ascending, descending or at rest, and

(b) a work positioning system in addition to the fall-arresting system when the employee is performing work at the working level.

(5) If it is impracticable to use a fall-arresting system and a work positioning system, the employer shall provide and the employee referred to in subsection (4) shall continually use a fall restricting system when ascending or descending and to secure themselves to the wood pole when at rest or at the working level.

(6) This section does not apply to the following situations:

(a) if the employee will at all times remain further than 3 m from the unguarded edge of a surface with a slope of 3 in 12 or less;

(b) where a firefighter is engaged in structural firefighting;

(c) where an employee is engaged in the installation, maintenance or removal of a fall-protection system and another form of fall-protection is impracticable, provided the employee has been fully instructed in work procedures and hazards and in how to protect himself or herself from falling; or

(d) if it is impracticable to use a fall-protection system where an employee is engaged in the weatherproofing of a roof that has a total area of less than 23 m2 or of a roof of a canopy or walkway that have slopes of 3 in 12 or less, provided the employee has been fully instructed in work procedures and hazards and in how to protect himself or herself from falling.

[N.B. Reg. 97-121, s. 11; 2010-159, s. 4]

Section 49.1

49.1(1) An owner of a place of employment, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure that the components of a fall-protection system

(a) are designed in accordance with good engineering practices,

(b) are erected, installed, assembled, used, handled, stored, adjusted, maintained, repaired and dismantled in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications, and

(c) meet the requirements of the applicable standards.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(c), the following CSA standards apply:

(a) Z259.1-05 , "Body Belts and Saddles for Work Positioning and Travel Restraint" or Z259.1-95 , "Safety Belts and Lanyards";

(b) Z259.2.1-98 , "Fall-arresters, Vertical life lines, and Rails" or Z259.2-M1979 , "Fall-arresting Devices, Personnel Lowering Devices and Life Lines", if the fall-arrester complies with Z259.2-M1979 it must be modified to make the fall-arrester panic proof;

(c) Z259.2.2-98 , "Self-Retracting Devices for Personal Fall-Arrest Systems", or equivalent;

(d) Z259.2.3-99 , "Descent Control Devices", or equivalent;

(e) Z259.10-06 , "Full Body Harnesses" or Z259.10- M90, "Full Body Harness";

(f) Z259.11-05 , "Energy Absorbers and Lanyards" or Z259.11-M92, "Shock Absorbers for Personal Fall- Arrest Systems";

(g) Z259.12-01 , "Connecting Components for Personal Fall-Arrest Systems", or equivalent;

(h) Z259.14-01 , "Fall Restricting Equipment for Wood Pole Climbing", or equivalent;

(i) Z259.13-04 , "Flexible Horizontal Life Line Systems"; and

[N.B. Reg. 2010-159, s. 5]

Section 49.2

49.2 (1) An owner of a place of employment, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure that any fall-arresting system consists of the following:

(a) a full body harness that is designed and rated by the manufacturer for the employee's body type and adjusted to fit the employee;

(b) a self-retracting lanyard, an energy absorbing lanyard or a lanyard and energy absorber that is rated by the manufacturer for the employee;

(c) unless it is a horizontal life line, an anchor point that is capable of withstanding a 22 kN force or, if used under the direction of a competent person, four times the maximum load that may be generated in the fall-arresting system.

(2) An owner of a place of employment, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure that a fall-arresting system limits

(a) free falls to the shortest distance possible, which distance cannot exceed 1.8 m or a shock level on the body of 8 kN, and

(b) the total fall distance to an amount less than the distance from the work area to any safe level, water or obstruction below.

(3) Despite subsection (2), if using an energy absorber is hazardous or impracticable, the fall-arresting system shall

(a) not include an energy absorber,

(b) not use lanyards made of wire rope or other in-elastic material, and

(c) limit free falls to 1.2 m.

(4) Before any use of a fall-arresting system by an employee, an owner of a place of employment, an employer or a contractor shall develop a procedure to be used for rescuing an employee in an emergency.

(5) An owner of a place of employment, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure that an employee is trained to use the procedures referred to in subsection (4) for rescuing another employee in an emergency.

(6) If a fall-arresting system arrests a fall, an owner of a place of employment, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure that all components, including connecting components of a fall-arresting system are

(a) removed from service and inspected by a competent person,

(b) repaired to the designer's or manufacturer's specifications, or

(c) destroyed when a defect is observed.

[N.B. Reg. 2010-159, s. 5.]

Section 49.3

49.3 (1) An owner of a place of employment who permits the use of a fall-arresting system shall provide or ensure the use of a permanent or temporary anchor point that meets the requirements of paragraph 49.2(1)(c).

(2) If a permanent anchor point has been provided, an owner of a place of employment shall

(a) prepare sketches showing the anchor point,

(b) provide a copy of the sketches to the employee who is using anchor points before the work begins, and

(c) ensure a copy of the sketches are posted conspicuously near the entrance to the roof.

(3) An owner of a place of employment shall ensure that every anchor point is inspected and certified by a competent person

(a) before being used for the first time,

(b) as recommended by the manufacturer, the installer or an engineer and at least every 12 months,

(c) after any event or maintenance and repairs, and

(d) when the owner of a place of employment is informed under subsection (4) of a defect or inadequacy.

(4) An employer or employee shall inform the owner of a place of employment immediately if they believe that any component of the anchor point is defective or inadequate.

(5) If the inspection under subsection (3) reveals a defect or inadequacy, no one shall use the anchor point and no owner of a place of employment, employer or contractor shall permit its use until the defect or inadequacy has been eliminated.

[N.B. Reg. 2010-159, s. 5]

Section 50

50. (1) An owner of a place of employment, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure that employees use fall-protection systems in following order of precedence:

(a) a guardrail, a travel restraint system or a fall restricting system; or

(b) a fall-arresting system.

(2) Despite subsection (1), the use of a guardrail is not permitted on a surface that has a slope exceeding 6 in 12.

(3) Despite subsection (1), where a fall-protection system is impractical an owner of a place of employment, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure an employee uses a control zone.

(4) Despite subsection (3), use of a control zone is not permitted on a working surface where the slope of the surface exceeds 3 in 12 or for scaffolds.

(5) This section does not apply where a firefighter is engaged in structural fire-fighting or rescue.

[N.B. Reg. 97-121, s. 12; 2010-159, s. 6]

Section 50.1

50.1 Before an employee is allowed into an area where a risk of falling exists, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure the employee is instructed in the fall-protection system for the area and in the post-fall rescue procedure, if applicable, and that the employee is competent in the procedures to be followed.

[N.B. Reg. 2010-159, s. 7]

Section 50.2

50.2 (1) An employer and a contractor shall each ensure that a fall-protection code of practice is written for a workplace if a fall-protection system is required for the workplace and

(a) the employees are working from a height of 7.5 m or more,

(b) the employer uses a safety monitor and work procedures when weatherproofing as the means of fall-protection, or

(c) an officer requires that the code of practice be written.

(2) The code of practice must be readily available at the workplace before work begins and employees must have received instruction with regards to the code of practice.

(3) The code of practice shall be developed in consultation with the joint health and safety committee or the health and safety representative, if any, or with the affected employees.

(4) The code of practice shall include the following information:

(a) possible hazardous situations, including a description of the hazards and the possible effects on the health or safety of employees;

(b) the identification of employees at risk;

(c) the location where the code of practice might apply;

(d) the methods and equipment to be used including inspections procedures;

(e) the procedures and equipment which might be required in the event of an emergency;

(f) the times, days, or events during which the code of practice might be applicable;

(g) the identification of training needs;

(h) the identification of the person responsible for implementing the code of practice; and

(i) the name of the safety monitor, if applicable, and the training the safety monitor has received.

[N.B. Reg. 2010-159, s. 7]

Section 50.3

50.3 (1) An employer shall ensure that a competent person trains an employee in the use, maintenance and inspection of a fall-protection system for the task being performed unless the fall-protection system is a guardrail.

(2) The employer shall ensure that the competent person referred to in subsection (1), who provides the training, prepares a written training record which shall include the following information:

(a) the name of the employee who received the training;

(b) the date on which the training took place; and

(c) the name of the competent person and the name of the agency if any.

(3) The training record for each employee shall be made available to an officer upon request.

(4) An employer shall, in consultation with the joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative, if any, review annually or more frequently, if required by a change in work conditions or in the fall protection field, the training provided to employees concerning fall protection to determine if retraining is necessary.

[N.B. Reg. 2010-159, s. 7]

Section 50.5

50.5 (1) An employer and an employee shall each ensure that each component of a personal fall-protection system is inspected as follows to determine whether there are any defective or inadequate components:

(a) by the employee prior to each use; and

(b) periodically as recommended by the manufacturer's specifications.

(2) If the inspection reveals a defect or inadequacy, no one shall use the personal fall-protection system and no employer or contractor shall permit its use until the defect or inadequacy has been eliminated.

[N.B. Reg. 2010-159, s. 7]