OHS Fall Protection Requirements
A. WHEN FALL PROTECTION IS REQUIRED
OHS regulations specify when fall protection to workers working at heights is required based on:
- How high up they are (typically 3 metres or higher);
- The surface or platform they work on (e.g., vehicles, scaffolds, sloped rooves); and
- What they’re at risk of falling through, on or into (e.g., machinery, hard surfaces, water).
But while the approach is the same, specific criteria vary by location.
B. MAXIMUM FALL ARREST FREE FALL DISTANCES & ARRESTING FORCES
Fall arrest systems don’t prevent falls but stop them before a worker plunges too far. But the action of arresting a fall can put a lot of stress on the body creating physical shock that can injure or even kill the worker. Accordingly, fall arrest systems are subject to stricter design, use and installation requirements including with regard to:
- How far they can let a worker fall before arresting it; and
- How much force they can exert on the worker’s body in arresting the fall.
C. WHERE & WHEN A FALL PROTECTION PROGRAM IS REQUIRED
Although required fall protection measures are roughly the same across Canada, nine jurisdictions require employers to codify everything in a written document called a fall protection program or plan. Heres a look at where fall protection programs are required and under which circumstances.
|Jurisdiction||Fall Protection Program Mandatory When:|
|Alberta||Workers are at risk of falling 3 or more metres and there are no guardrails|
|BC||Workers are at risk of falling 7.5 metres or more metres and there are no guardrails or fall arrest systems are not practicable|
|New Brunswick||Code of practice required when fall protection is required (See A above), and one of the following 3 things is true:
i. Workers are working at height of 7.5 metres or more
ii. Employer uses a safety monitor and work procedures when weatherproofing as means of fall protection
iii. A government officer requires a written code of practice
|Newfoundland & Labrador||Fall arrest systems or safety nets are the principle means of fall protection|
|Nova Scotia||Fall protection is required and maximum fall distance is less than 7.5 metres|
|PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND||Fall arrest systems or safety nets are the principle means of fall protection|
|SASKATCHEWAN||Workers are at risk of falling 3 or more metres and there are no guardrails or similar barriers in place|
|YUKON||Workers are at risk of falling 7.5 or more metres and there are no guardrails|