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Working at heights

Program consists of several standards:

Fall protection

  • Content TBA

Fall arrest standard

Section 85 of the Regulations for Industrial Establishments under the Occupational Health and Safety Act states:

85. Where a worker is exposed to the hazard of falling and the surface to which he or she might fall more than three meters below the position where he or she is situated,

  1. The worker shall wear a serviceable safety belt or harness and lifeline adequately secured to a fixed support and so arranged that the worker cannot fall freely for a vertical distance of more than 1.5 meters; and
  2. The fall arresting system described in clause (1) shall,
    1. Have sufficient capacity to absorb twice the energy and twice the load that under the circumstances of its use may be transmitted to it, and
    2. Be equipped with a shock absorber or other devices to limit the maximum arresting force to 8.0 kilonewtons to the wearer. R.R.O. 1990, Reg.851, s. 85.

Equipment standards

  • CSA Z259.11-M92 shock absorbers for personal fall arrest systems Arrest Systems
  • CSA-Z259.10-M90 full body harnesses

When to wear fall arrest

When working above 3 meters (10 ft.)

  1. Roof
  2. Aerial truck
  3. Erecting scaffolding

Inspection of fall arrest system

Inspecting the components of your fall arrest equipment at the start of each shift is necessary to ensure that the system will provide the necessary protection. The list below covers the inspection points.

Full body harness

full body harness

  • Check that buckle tongue overlaps buckle frame and moves freely.
  • Buckle tongue must not be bent out of shape or worn down.
  • Inspect roller. It should turn freely on buckle frame.
  • Check for distortion and sharp edges.
  • Inspect for cracks, breaks, and sharp or rough edges.
  • Ensure that fasteners are not cracked, burned, or cutting into the belt or harness. A damaged fastener can fail under stress.
  • Look for cuts, fraying, or other damage.
  • During welding or cutting, check for burns from welding splatter and cutting sparks.
  • Inspect tongue area of belt or harness. Buckling and unbuckling can cause normal wear and tear. Ensure that grommets are not loose, broken, or misshapen.
  • Check for worn, cut, or frayed fibres where buckle attaches to belt or harness.
  • Group A - Fall arresting
  • Group D - Controlled descent
  • Group E - Confined entry and exit (raising and lowering)
  • Group L - Ladder climbing
  • Group P - Work positioning

Shock absorbing lanyard

shock ansorbing lanyardCheck webbing material for wear, tear, and fraying.

If absorber is made with tear-away stitching designed to gradually absorb fall-arrest load, check to make sure that stitching is intact.


Check for cracks and corroded or pitted surfaces.

Ensure that bill and eye sections are not twisted or bent.

Check that keeper (latch) seats into bill without binding. It should not be bent or wobbly.

Ensure that spring has enough tension to close keeper securely. Examine for bent, cracked, or broken fasteners.

Check that the locking device is working properly.


lifelineVertical lifelines should be at least 16 mm diameter polypropylene or other material of equal strength. Nylon stretches more than polypropylene; polyester stretches less. These properties must be considered when selecting lifelines for a particular job.

  • Inspect lifelines from end to end before installing them.
  • Check for wear, abrasion, cuts, and burns. On polypropylene lifelines, check for deterioration from the sun's ultraviolet light.
Rope grab
  • rope grabMake sure that grabs are installed right-side up. Most grabs feature a directional arrow to indicate proper orientation.
  • Check for corrosion, distortion, and secure mounting. Make sure that cams show no signs of having been subjected to a fall-arrest load.
Lifeline anchorage
  • lifeline anchorageMake sure that anchors can withstand a load 10 times heavier than the weight of the person using the fall-arrest system (usually 5000 lb).
  • Check that lifelines are securely attached to anchors before using the system.
  • Make sure that, wherever possible, only one lifeline is attached to each anchor.

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In accordance with section 46 of the Industrial Regulations;

Ladders shall be stored so that they:

  1. Will not tip, collapse or fall
  2. Can be removed or withdrawn without endangering the safety of any worker

In addition, ladders that may tip or fall and endanger any worker shall be secured against tipping or falling.

Inspection and use of ladders

From section 73 of the industrial regulations;

A portable ladder shall:

  1. Be free from broken or loose members or other faults
  2. Have non-slip feet
  3. Be placed on a firm footing
  4. Where it:
    1. Exceeds six metres in length and is not securely fastened, or
    2. Is likely to be endangered by traffic, be held in place by one or more workers while being used
  5. When not securely fastened, be inclined so that the horizontal distance from the top support to the foot of the ladder is not less than 1/4 and not more than 1/3 of the length of the ladder

Step ladders


  1. ladder partsUse a stepladder that is about 1 m (3 ft) shorter than the highest point you have to reach. This gives a wider, more stable base and places shelf at a convenient working height.
  2. Select the type of ladder appropriate to the work (i.e. non conducting for working around live electrical wires).


  1. lock spreaderOpen the stepladder spreaders and shelf fully.
  2. Check stability. Ensure that all ladder feet are on a firm, level and non-slippery surface.
    • Avoid soft ground where one leg may sink farther into the ground than others
    • Do not place stepladders on boxes, unstable bases or on scaffolds to gain additional height
  3. Place a stepladder at right angles to the work, with either the front or back of the steps facing the work.
  4. Keep the stepladder close to the work.


  1. stepladderDo not overreach. Move a stepladder when needed.
  2. Do not stand, climb, or sit on the stepladder top or pail shelf.
  3. Do not overload. Stepladders are meant for one person.
  4. Do not use a stepladder as a brace or as a support for a work platform or plank.
  5. Do not use ladders in passageways, doorways, driveways or other locations where a person or vehicle can hit it. If you must set up suitable barriers.
  6. Do not climb a stepladder that is leaning against a wall. Use a straight ladder instead. Use both hands when climbing.
  7. Do not climb the back of a stepladder.
  8. Carry the step ladder to a new position. Avoid pushing or pulling stepladders from the side. Repeated sideways movement can make ladders wobbly since they are weaker or less stable in those directions. Do not "shift" or "walk" a stepladder when standing on it.
  9. Face the stepladder when climbing up or down. Keep your body centred between side rails. You have climbed too high if your knees are above top of the stepladder or if you cannot maintain a handhold on the ladder. Maintain a firm grip.

Extension ladders


  1. Select the type of ladder appropriate to the work (i.e. non conducting for working around live electrical wires).


  1. Set the ladder one foot out for every three or four feet up.
  2. Secure the top and bottom of the ladder.


  1. Clean off your boot soles before climbing.three point contact
  2. Maintain 3-point contact while climbing or working-- two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand at all times.
    If your work requires you to use both hands, a rolling stair, power lift or scaffold is to be used.
  3. Face the ladder.
  4. Keep your body between the side rails.
  5. Keep ladders away from power lines.
  6. Don't lean out beyond the side rails.
  7. Don't carry tools or equipment in your hands while climbing.ladder height when used to access another level
  8. On an extension ladder, stand no higher than the fourth rung from the top. 
  9. Never straddle the space between a ladder and another point.
  10. When using a ladder to access another level, it must extend at least 3 ft above the landing or floor.

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Rolling scaffolding standard

Problem areas

  1. Erecting and dismantling scaffolds.
  2. Climbing up and down scaffolds.
  3. Planks sliding off or breaking.
  4. Platforms not fully planked or "decked".
  5. Platforms without guardrails.
  6. Failure to install all required components such as base plates, connections, and braces.
  7. moving rolling scaffolds near overhead electrical wires.
  8. moving rolling scaffolds with workers on the platform.

Use of rolling scaffolds

  1. Only a competent person may erect a scaffold.
  2. Fall protection must be worn when erecting or dismantling a scaffold that exceeds 3 meters (10 feet) in height.
  3. Rolling scaffolds must have brakes on all wheels. All brakes must be applied when the scaffold reaches the desired position.
  4. Working platforms on rolling scaffolds must have a toe-board 100 mm (4") in height.
  5. Scaffolds over one frame in height must not be moved while a worker is on the platform.
  6. The floor area where the scaffold is to be moved should be free of bumps or depressions and cleared of all debris.
  7. Rolling scaffolds must be securely pinned together and should always be fitted with horizontal bracing as recommended by the manufacturer. Scaffolds, which are not securely pinned together, can separate if they drop into a hole or depression or run into an obstacle at ground level. Horizontal bracing is necessary on a standard frame scaffold to keep it from folding up because the connections between frames and braces are essentially pinned joints.
  8. wheel lockWheels must be positively secured to the frame. Wheels must be properly sized according to the manufacturer specifications. A wheel dropping off in a hole or depression in floors can cause serious accidents and injuries.
  9. Each wheel should have a brake, which is in good working order and can be easily applied and maintained. The wheel or wheels should be suitable for the surface on which the scaffold is to be used. Small wheels are suitable for pavement or concrete floors. Larger pneumatic wheels are necessary where soils are the working surface. Rolling scaffolds must always be used on a surface, which is smooth, free of depressions and reasonably level.

Scaffold stability

Three-to-one rule: On a scaffold the ratio of height to least lateral dimension should not exceed 3 to 1 unless:

1. The scaffold is tied into the structure.

  • Tie-ins: Tie-ins should be located at both ends of every second node (section) vertically. Connections should be made with right-angle clamps. Tie-ins should be capable of withstanding both tension (pull) and compression (push).

2. The scaffold is properly stabilized by guy wires or manufactures hold-off.

3. The scaffold is secured by outrigger stabilizers sufficient to maintain the ratio.

  • outriggerOutriggers or stabilizers are used to provide base stability and maintain the 3-to-1 rule. Length b may not exceed 3 times length a. They must be properly deployed and "snuggled up" so that sufficient contact is made with the surface to prevent settlement or movement due to side thrusts.
  • On soil the outrigger feet should always be placed on a mud sill.
  • Most bracing systems for tubular frame scaffolds are manufactured from light materials and are easily damaged. Braces with kinks, bends or deformation should NOT be used; such damage can significantly weaken them. The ends of braces are frequently damaged by dropping them on concrete or other hard surfaces during dismantling. Ends of braces are also frequently bent by forcing them onto the locking pin during erection. Constant bending can cause the ends to crack. Bracing ends should therefore be inspected before use and braces with cracked ends should be discarded. The scaffold supplier and/or Professional Engineer must certify the repair or replacement of any damaged components.

Maximum height for UW rolling scaffold

Outrigger Scaffold (width x height) Length with stabilizers Width with stabilizers Maximum platform height
No outrigger 4.5' x 8' 8' 4.5' 13 '- 6"
44" outrigger 4.5' x 8' 11' 11' 32' - 6"
62" outriggers 4.5' x 8' 12' - 18" 12' - 10" 38' - 6"


  1. Install all scaffold parts. Never use damaged or defective components.     
  2. Use mud sills (2" X 10" planks, not scrap).     
  3. Use base plates and leveling screws.     
  4. Check for plumb.     
  5. Install horizontal and vertical braces.
  6. Use 2" X 10" planks for platforms - number 1 or select structural grade.
  7. Tie scaffold to structure:
    • Every 2 frames horizontally.
    • Every 3 frames vertically.
  8. Keep scaffolds clear of overhead wires.


Access to rolling scaffolding is by internal stairs.

access to rolling scaffolding by internal stairs

Fall protection

  1. Install guardrails with toe boards on all open sides of platform.     
  2. Nail cleats to planks to prevent slipping.
  3. Don't carry anything in your hands while climbing up or down.
  4. Make sure that the working platform is fully planked.
  5. When guardrails are removed, wear a safety belt or safety harness with the lanyard properly tied off to lifeline, scaffold or structure.


Scaffold decks are usually small, narrow and confined. Tools and materials to be used should be stored in an orderly fashion. Debris and waste materials should not be allowed to collect on the platform. It should be either put in a container or removed from the platform immediately. Waste pieces of lumber, pipe, wire and miscellaneous metal and small tools are tripping hazards, which have caused many serious falls from scaffolds. Working safely on scaffolds requires keeping an orderly work area.

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