OHS Canada Magazine

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Fall Protection for Workers at Heights

New guide provides equipment-selection and safety strategies for managers


The risk of falling on the job is often associated with workers who perform their job duties on rooftops or scaling tall buildings. However, falls can occur from overhead platforms, elevated workstations or even into holes in walls, floors or the ground.

Generally, if a worker is at risk of falling three or more metres, a fall-protection system becomes a critical component of occupational health and safety practices and procedures.

Fall-protection equipment includes a broad range of devices such as body belts, body harnesses, connecting components and vertical lifelines. It’s mandatory for workers who are at risk of falling to have and make use of proper fall-protection equipment.

CSA Group publishes guides to help with the selection and proper use of current fall-protection equipment. It also offers fall-protection training to help ensure workers and supervisors follow proper safety methods when working with fall-arrest equipment and systems.

Its standards are regularly updated in response to technological change and evolving safety concerns. It tests and certifies fall-protection equipment components to the applicable Z259 standards in Canada and the corresponding ANSI/ASME standards in the U.S.

CSA just published a new document, Z259.17: Selection and Use of Active Fall-Protection Equipment and Systems. It’s more of a guide “book” that walks managers through all the basics of ensuring their workplace has the right fall-protection equipment. It provide answers to common questions for managers and supervisors, such as “What should I be looking for?” and “How do I choose equipment?”

CSA Group’s series of fall-protection standards cover performance, design, testing, marking, classification and other crucial requirements for a range of fall-protection equipment and systems, such as:

— Full-body harnesses;
— Fall-restrict equipment for wood-pole climbing;
— Anchorage connectors;
— Fall arresters, vertical lifelines and vertical rigid rails;
— Energy absorbers and lanyards;
— Body belts and saddles for work positioning and travel restraints;
— Design of active fall-protection systems;
— Manufactured horizontal lifeline systems;
— Self-retracting devices;
— Connecting components for personal fall-arrest systems; and
— Descent-control devices.

Voluntary standards help ensure workers are protected from potential workplace hazards. Following best practices, ensuring proper training and understanding your legal obligations are an integral part of promoting safety and helping to prevent fall-related injuries.

CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit membership association dedicated to safety, social good and sustainability. The CSA certification mark appears on billions of products worldwide.