Fall Protection

Employees and students, who are required to work or be exposed to varied elevations have a potential for injury from falls.

Okanagan College must ensure that a fall protection system is in place when employees or students work at elevations greater than 3 m (10ft) or where a fall from a lesser height involves an unusual risk of injury. Fall protection systems include (in order of priority):

  • guard rails
  • safety belts or full body harnesses with related equipment
  • horizontal life lines
  • control zones

NOTE: refer to WCB's Fall Protection Regulations for specific requirements


Anchor - a secure point of attachment for lifelines or lanyards that is capable of withstanding the loads:
  • fall restraint - 800 lbs
  • fall arrest - 5000 lbs

Control zone - the area between an unguarded edge and a defined line which is set back a safe distance. (Minimum 2 m or 6 1/2 ft)

Exceptional Hazard - an additional hazard over and above the normal hazard of falling to the surface below, for example, falling onto a moving conveyor or onto protruding reinforcing steel.

Fall distance -
the distance from the point where the worker would fall to the point where the fall would be arrested. (maximum of 4 ft without a shock absorber, 6 1/2 ft with a shock absorber)

Fall arrest -
stopping a fall which has occurred before the worker hits the surface below.

Fall Restraint -
the use of a work positioning system to prevent workers from falling from the position in which they are working or a travel restriction system to prevent workers from travelling to an edge from which they may fall.

Free Fall - The distance from the point where the worker would begin to fall to the point where the fall arrest system begins to cause deceleration of the fall.

Full body Harness - a configuration of connected straps to distribute a fall arresting force over at least the thigh, shoulders and pelvis, with provisions for attaching a lanyard, lifeline or other components.

Horizontal Lifeline - a rail, wire rope or synthetic cable that is installed in a horizontal plane between two anchors and used for attachment of a worker's lanyard or lifeline while permitting the worker to move horizontally

  • Fall restraint - ultimate load capacity of at least 800 lbs per worker
  • Fall arrest - certified by a professional engineer

Lanyard - a flexible line of webbing, rope, or cable used to secure a safety belt or full body harness to a lifeline or anchor.

Lifeline -
a line from a fixed anchor or between two horizontal anchors and used for attachment of a worker's lanyard, safety belt, full body harness or other device.

Personal Fall Protection System -
a fall protection system which uses a safety belt or full body harness to secure each worker to an individual anchor by means of lanyards, vertical lifelines, or other connecting equipment.

Safety Belt -
a body support component comprised of a strap with a means for securing it about the waist and for attaching it to other components. Used only for fall restraint systems.

Shock absorber - a component whose primary function is to dissipate energy and limit deceleration forces which are imposed on the body during fall arrest. With a shock absorber in place a free fall of 6 1/2 feet is permitted in a fall arrest system.

Swing Fall Hazard - the hazard of swinging and colliding with an obstruction or the ground following a fall by a worker connected to a lifeline at an angle to the anchor location.

Work Procedures -
the prevention of fall injuries by the control zone or safety monitor systems under this system or other systems established by an employer to minimize the risks from not using a fall protection system.

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  • Ensure employees and students working at Okanagan College comply with fall protection instructions.
  • Identify workplace fall hazards through job safety analysis.
  • Hold pre-job planning meetings to discuss the fall protection required.
  • Provide approved fall protection equipment for employees/students, including fall restraint and fall arresting equipment.
  • Provide procedures for maintenance and inspection of fall protection equipment.
  • Provide training in the use of fall restraint and fall arresting equipment. Maintain training records.
  • Provide attachment points capable of withstanding the forces specified in these instructions.
  • Develop workplace-specific written fall protection procedures.

Health & Safety Coordinator:

  • Review workplace-specific written fall protection job procedures prior to implementation and annually thereafter.

Physical Plant:

  • Ensure contractors working on Okanagan College facilities comply with fall protection regulations.
  • Coordinate with Health & Safety Office, Physical Plant office and contractor, during the design phase of new buildings and upgrades of old or existing structures, regarding issues involving tieback anchors, guardrails, signs, etc.


  • Use workplace-specific job procedures provided when working in fall hazard locations.
  • Control or restrict access, or apply engineering controls, if necessary, when working below or around others working overhead.
  • Understand the requirements and use of the Fall Protection System and fall restraint and fall arrest equipment. Use only OUC supplied or approved equipment.
  • Understand the requirement for working on a leading or fixed edge. (see control Zones section in this statement.)

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Fall Restraint

Restraint protection is rigged to allow the movement of employees only as far as the sides and edge of the walking/working surface. Temporary anchorage points used for fall restraint must be engineered to be capable of supporting four times the intended load, with a minimum strength requirement of 364 kg (800 lb).

  • Work within the confines of a perimeter (standard) guardrail.
  • Wear an approved safety belt or harness attached to securely rigged restraint lines where:
    • safety belt and/or harness conform to all CSA (Canadian Standards Association) Standards
    • rope-grab devices must be used in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations and instructions.
  • Inspect fall restraint components before each use, for wear, damage and other deterioration. Remove defective components from service when the component's function or strength has been adversely affected.
  • fall restraint components must be compatible
  • Tie restraint lines, independently of other lines, to the anchorage point.

Fall Arrest

  • Employees exposed to a free fall distance of 3 m (10ft) or more (without restraint) must wear fall arresting equipment, using a full-body harness system.
  • Inspect components of the fall arrest system before each use for wear, damage and other deterioration. Defective components are removed from service when the components' function or strength has been adversely affected.
  • Fall arrest equipment must meet the minimum criteria:
    • hardware used must be drop-forged, pressed or formed steel, with a corrosion-resistant finish, with surfaces and edges smooth to prevent damage to the attached body harness or lanyard;
    • vertical life-lines must have a breaking strength specified by the manufacture as 27 kN (6000lbs); termination knots or splices can not reduce the strength of lifeline to less than 22 kN (5000lbs)
    • horizontal life-lines must be 12 mm diameter wire rope with a manufactures specified breaking strength of at least 89 kN (20000 pounds);
    • increase the above forces by 25% if two workers are connected to the same horizontal static line.
    • lanyards must have a minimum tensile strength of 2449 kg (5400lb).
    • body harness components must be CSA-approved.
    • Secure full-body harness systems to anchorage points capable of supporting 2272 k (5000lb).
    • Protect safety lines and lanyards against cuts or abrasion.
    • Limit the free fall distance (through rigging) to a maximumof 1.2 m (4 ft) without a shock absorber or 6 1/2 ft with a shock absorber.
    • Only one employee may be attached to any one vertical lifeline.
    • Connect only one snap hook to any one D-ring.
    • Snap hooks must not be connected to one another.

Control Zones

The use of a Control Zone is prohibited on a surface where the slope exceeds 4 vertical and 12 horizontal or for scaffold erection and removal.

A Control Zone is used for leading edge or fixed edge work where:

  • a minimum distance from the edge of 2 m (6.5 ft) is used to protect employees and students, not wearing fall arrest or fall restraint equipment; NOTE: the Control Zone should be expanded during adverse condition, (e.g. slippery roof) or when working at an additional elevation within the "Safe Zone" (e.g. on a step ladder)
  • employees or students working within the "control zone" must be using appropriate fall arrest or fall restraint equipment
  • if work is to be conducted inside the Control Zone warning lines must be installed to identify the Control Zone. The lines must be highly visible and maintained at a height of between 0.85 m and 1.15 m (34" and 45") at intervals not exceeding 1.8 m (6ft)