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Firefighter Guidance Note: Working at Heights

Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help the workplace parties understand some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations. For further information please see full disclaimer.

Background

There are circumstances where fire department personnel are working at heights at a construction project.

Concerns/hazards

Firefighters who work at heights are exposed to the hazard of falling.

Actions for employers

Employers should:

  • establish procedures to protect firefighters from the hazard of falls
  • develop standard operating procedures/operating guidelines that address worker training, including who needs to take the ministry’s Working at Heights training program

Working at heights training for construction projects

If a firefighter on a construction project performing work will be exposed to the hazard of falling and is required by regulation to use certain types of fall protection, the firefighter must complete a working at heights training program approved by the Ministry of Labour’s Chief Prevention Officer.

You can find out more about working at heights training on the Ministry of Labour website.

Risks

There are times when fire personnel may be working at heights.

Examples of job functions which may involve working at heights include:

  • fire prevention
  • inspection
  • investigation
  • pre-planning

Examples of situations which may involve working at heights, include:

  • temporary structures/scaffolds
  • unguarded openings or edges in the structure floor/roof
  • unstable/unfinished work surfaces

Knowledge of major or unique construction projects in the community may assist firefighters in identifying unique situations that they may encounter and increase their situational awareness.

Applicable regulations, acts and standards

Read:

  • Occupational Health and Safety Act
    • section 1 for definitions of “construction” and “project”
    • clause 25(2)(a) for providing information and instruction to a worker
    • clause 25(2)(h) for taking every precaution reasonable to protect workers
  • O. Reg. 213/91 – Regulation for Construction Projects
    • section 26 for hazards where fall protection must be used on a construction project
  • O. Reg. 297/13 – Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation
    • section 6 for when working at heights training is required on construction projects when using one of these methods of fall protection - travel restraint system, fall restricting system, fall arrest system, safety net, work belt, or safety belt
    • section 7 for information on approved working at heights training programs

Related

Read firefighters guidance notes about:

Disclaimer: This web resource has been prepared to assist the workplace parties in understanding some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the regulations. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation.

It is the responsibility of the workplace parties to ensure compliance with the legislation. This web resource does not constitute legal advice. If you require assistance with respect to the interpretation of the legislation and its potential application in specific circumstances, please contact your legal counsel.

While this web resource will also be available to Ministry of Labour inspectors, they will apply and enforce the OHSA and its regulations based on the facts as they may find them in the workplace. This web resource does not affect their enforcement discretion in any way.