What is Fall Protection and Fall Protection Certification?

Methods of Fall Protection Did you know that it takes only about a second to fall from 5 meters and 4 seconds to fall from 78 meters (23rd floor)? Falls […]

Methods of Fall Protection

Did you know that it takes only about a second to fall from 5 meters and 4 seconds to fall from 78 meters (23rd floor)?

Falls are the number one cause of critical injuries and deaths of workers on construction sites. Most fall-related incidents are the result of fall protection methods and equipment being used improperly or not at all. Developing and implementing comprehensive fall protection programs in the workplace can prevent many of these injuries and fatalities. Every worker should focus on the importance of fall protection, fall protection systems and components, calculations and fall protection planning and procedures.

The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations require workers to use a fall protection system where they could fall at least 3 m or where a fall from a lesser height may result in serious injury. In addition, workers must be trained thoroughly in the safe use and limitations of personal fall protection equipment, including safety belts, harnesses, lanyards, and lifelines.

A fall hazard is anything in the workplace that could cause an unintended loss of balance or bodily support and result in a fall.

Fall hazards cause accidents such as the following:

  • A worker walking near the edge of a loading dock falls to the lower level.
  • A worker falls while climbing a defective ladder.
  • A weak ladder collapses under the weight of a heavy worker carrying tools.
  • A worker carrying a heavy box falls down a stairway.

Fall protection refers to any system designed to prevent a worker from a fall or in the event they do fall, to stop them without causing severe injury. Examples of these include guardrails and travel restraint systems. If a Fall Protection system such as a guardrail or travel restraining system cannot be put into place, one of the 3 following types of systems must be implemented:

  • Fall Restraint System
  • Safety Net
  • Fall Arrest System

A Fall Arrest System is designed to protect you after you fall, whereas a Fall Restraint System is designed to prevent you from falling. Examples of Fall Restraint Systems include:

  • Work-positioning systems using either safety belts or full-body harnesses that attach you to an anchor and leave both your hands-free to work.
  • Travel-restriction systems of guardrails or personal fall protection equipment used to prevent you from travelling to an edge from where you may fall.

The two major types of fall arrest are nets and personal fall arrest systems (Lifelines), also known as PFAS. Fall Arrest is a form of fall protection involving the stopping of an individual who is already in the process of falling. Other forms of fall protection include: Safety Nets, Fall Guarding (guardrails) and fall restraint.

The selection of the particular means of fall protection is dependent upon the circumstances and the job task. The most ideal choice of a means of fall protection will be one that removes the risk of falling entirely. Otherwise, the worker must understand, care for, and rely on the personal protective equipment to safely arrest a fall.

When choosing a fall protection system, you should first consider installing guardrails or barriers. They provide a high degree of protection once installed properly. However, installing guardrails or barriers at a worksite is not always practical — that is when you may need personal fall protection equipment.

There are three vital components that make up a complete fall protection system. These are the ABCs of fall protection: Anchorage, Body support and Means of Connection. While each of these components is vital to worker safety, the connecting device is the critical link in assembling a safe fall protection system since it bears the greatest force during a fall.

Careful consideration must be given to the selection, materials, construction, and inspection/maintenance of Fall Protection equipment before, during, and after a connecting device has been selected.

How to get Fall Protection Certification?

eSafetyFirst Fall Protection Certification program has been developed in accordance with provincial legislation as safety training for workplaces across Canada.

This course consists of 4 modules and tests. Once you pass all the tests, you may print your certificate of completion (wallet & wall-sized). Training may be paused or resumed at any time, is fully narrated, and includes interactive exercises to ensure understanding of course content.

Depending on your duties or workplace hazards, hands-on equipment training including donning/doffing a harness or site-specific training such as identifying and using the anchor points present at your worksite will be required.

How long does Fall Protection Certification last?

Industry standards recommend that employees who work at heights should undergo Fall Protection training every 3 years. The regular completion of the course ensures that legal safety standards are abided, while also decreasing the risk of accidents taking place.