The Legal Requirements for Fall Protection in the Workplace

Falls from heights, even relatively low heights, can result in serious injuries. Fall protection equipment and strategies can reduce or eliminate workers’ fall risk. The Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) requires workers to use fall protection systems when they could fall from a height of 3 m (10 ft) or more or where a fall from a lesser height could result in serious injury.

What is the OHSR

The OHSR is British Columbia’s legislation that sets the legal requirements for health and safety in the workplace. Most workplaces in B.C. need to comply with the OHSR, except for mines, and federally regulated workplaces such as banks, transportation, telephone systems, radio, television, and sable services.

The Employer’s responsibilities

According to WorkSafe BC, employers must have an established health and safety program and provide employees with proper training and supervision. Supervisors must have training and support; first aid equipment and supplies must be available on-site.

Fall protection strategies

Fall protection plan

Employers are required to develop a written fall protection plan if work is being performed at a height of 3 m (10 ft) or above a lower level. The plan must outline the procedures, equipment, and training needed to protect workers from falls.

Guardrails and Barriers

Employers must install permanent or temporary guardrails, barriers, or other protective measures to prevent workers from falling off elevated work areas, platforms, or edges where fall hazards cannot be eliminated.

Personal fall protection systems

When guardrails are not feasible, employers need to provide personal fall protection systems like harnesses, lanyards, and anchor points. These systems should be correctly chosen, maintained, and used by all workers who are at risk of falling. There are two main types of fall protection systems.

Fall restraints

After eliminating fall hazards and installing guardrails, a fall restraint system is the next level. Fall restraint systems prevent people from falling through either travel restrictions or work positioning.

Travel restriction fall restraints are where workers are attached to a fixed-length line that prevents them from travelling too close to an opening or edge.

Work positioning fall restraints enable a person to work supported in tension or suspension by personal fall protection equipment so that a fall from a height is prevented or restricted.

Fall arrest systems

Fall arrest protection is used When a fall restraint system is not possible or practical. A fall arrest system protects you after a fall by stopping you from hitting the surface below. The fall arrest system includes a lanyard, or lifeline, a harness, and an anchor to which the harness is attached.

Fall protection training

Employers are responsible for ensuring that workers receive adequate training and education on fall protection systems, hazards, and safe work practices. Every worker who will be working at heights should know and understand the workings

Work procedures

If guardrails, fall restraints, or fall arrests are not practicable or will result in a greater risk of injury, contact the Prevention Information Line to discuss alternative work-safe procedures that are approved by WorkSafe BC.

Contact Clockwork Training for fall protection training

To register for fall protection training for your team, contact us. We will be happy to answer any questions. We are a mobile training program, meaning we go to your business across B.C.