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.
Falls are the number one cause of critical injuries and deaths of workers at construction sites in Ontario.
Workers can be at increased risk of falling due to:
Appropriate methods for controlling these and other hazards must be included in construction site health and safety programs.
Some methods for controlling hazards leading to falls include:
The regulatory requirements regarding fall protection on a construction project are set out in Sections 26 to 26.9 of the Regulation for Construction Projects (O. Reg. 213/91).
Some control methods include guardrail systems (as opposed to other methods of fall protection — see below) which must be used to prevent falls, unless it is not reasonably possible to install one. Constructors and employers must install guardrails (or take other protective measures), if workers are at risk of falling:
Sections 26 and 26.1 of the Regulation for Construction Projects (O. Reg. 213/91) require this. Subsection 26.3 (1) requires that a guardrail system must also be used if a worker is exposed to a fall of 2.4 metres or more and has access to the open side of a:
If it’s not reasonably possible to install a guardrail system, a worker must be protected from the fall hazard by one of the following under the Regulation for Construction Projects:
The components of any method used for fall protection must meet the requirements of any applicable National Standards of Canada (CSA) standard listed in subsection 26.1 (3).
Construction workers who could use a fall protection system must receive two types of training:
Under the Regulation for Construction Projects a suspended platform or suspended scaffold must:
A worker who is on or getting on or off a suspended platform or a suspended scaffold must wear a full body harness connected to a fall arrest system as prescribed in subsection 141 (1).
A multi-point suspended scaffold and all of its components must be designed by a professional engineer in accordance with good engineering practice and must meet the requirements in section 142.2.
An elevating work platform must be designed by a professional engineer in accordance with good engineering practice to meet the requirements of the applicable National Standards of Canada standards and must be equipped with guardrails as prescribed in subsections 144 (1) and (7) of the regulation.
Scaffolds that meet the requirements of the Regulation for Construction Projects must be used when work cannot be done from the ground, a building or another permanent structure without posing a hazard to the workers [subsection 125 (1)].
In accordance with section 80, a ladder used as a regular means of access between levels of a structure must:
Constructors, employers, supervisors and workers have a number of duties and responsibilities under the OHSA and Regulation for Construction Projects.
It is the responsibility of constructors, employers and supervisors to ensure all workplace parties comply with the OHSA and its regulations. The employer is required to ensure that basic mandatory health and safety awareness training for all supervisors and workers in the workplace is completed.
The OHSA sets out general responsibilities for employers. Among other duties, an employer must:
An employer with six or more employees must:
The OHSA sets out certain general duties for workplace supervisors. A supervisor must:
Employers, supervisors and trainers should encourage workers to communicate any questions or concerns they may have about falls hazards. Supervisors or others involved in training workers should be familiar with any health and safety concerns affecting workers.
Below are some general duties contained in the OHSA for workers. A worker must:
Workers should be aware of their OHSA rights, including the right to refuse unsafe work and the right to know about any potential hazards.
Call 1-877-202-0008 any time to report critical injuries, fatalities or work refusals. Call 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday for general questions about workplace health and safety. Always call 911 in an emergency.
Workers have until April 1, 2017 to take the CPO-approved “Working at Heights” course from an approved training provider if, prior to April 1, 2015, they completed training that meets section 26.2 (1) requirements of the Construction Regulations.
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.