How to Create a Fall Protection Plan

As covered in our previous article, Everyone Needs Fall Protection, a fall protection plan is usually a regulatory requirement and is required in situations where there is the potential for employees to fall three meters or more or where a fall shorter than three meters is likely to result in injury.

It is the responsibility of the employer to identify all areas where falls can happen and to oversee the development of a fall protection plan.

Additionally the employer needs to provide necessary training to staff to ensure they understand their role and what they need to do in case of an accident, and that they have access to the necessary equipment in good working condition.

Supervisory staff, as the eyes on the ground, should assist in the creation of the fall protection plan. With a unique understanding of the individual workers training and knowledge they can ensure all the affected staff understand and can carry out the plan that is created.

Although each province has its own regulations fall protection plans will look pretty similar no matter where in Canada you’re located. The fall protection plan should include the following:

  • Site address and description
  • Site specific fall hazards
  • The type of fall protection to be used
  • Inspection records
  • Safety checklist
  • Rescue procedures
  • Worker sign off

In addition to the site address and description the first section should also state the date the plan comes in to effect, who the employer is, and the specific work area within the address.

The site specific fall hazards section should attempt to be as accurate as possible and include specifics about hazards, for example what kind of slope exists, what objects might create a hazard on the ground, how high it is and even the proximity to power lines.

Types of fall protection can be general, needing only to identify if fall restraints, fall arrests, or a temporary guardrail system is being used. More specific information will exist in the inspection section.

Inspection records should note the exact type of equipment, what it is used for, and when it was last inspected to ensure it is in good working condition.

The safety checklist will include items which will always be on site . If any of these items are missing work should be halted until they can be replaced. This includes items such as first aid kits, safety headgear, and barricades.

The rescue procedures should detail how a worker will be rescued once the safety equipment has done its job. For example, if, after a fall, a worker is suspended three feet in the air from a harness how will they be brought back to the ground?

Finally the fall protection plan must have every worker sign off on it. This is to ensure they have all read it, and understand what is required from them in order to maintain a safe work space.

Work Safe Alberta and Work Safe BC provide templates which can be used to create a fall protection plan.

December 19, 2019
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