Falls

  • Content last reviewed: September 2020

Falls from heights and same-level falls can happen anywhere, anytime.

Every year, falls result in a significant number of worker injuries and deaths, particularly in construction. Slips, trips and falls are also one of the leading causes of injuries that result in workers missing time at work. Preventing these injuries is a critical goal of every safe and healthy workplace.

Falls are preventable.

Falls Awareness Week

This year, Falls Awareness Week is September 14–18, 2020. The goal of this week is to bring awareness to workplace falls hazards through workplace discussion and participation.

Participate this year to help prevent serious injuries at your workplace.

How to participate in Falls Awareness Week

You can participate in Falls Awareness Week by stopping work and taking 15–30 minutes—anytime during their workday—to hold a safety talk about preventing falls in the workplace.

Safety talks focus on addressing a key workplace hazard, such as working at heights, and creating an environment of open communication where workers’ questions and concerns can be addressed.

The Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) has developed a free, downloadable Fall Prevention Toolkit to help you participate in Falls Awareness Week. It includes a how-to-guide to set-up your safety talk, subjects you may want to cover on fall prevention, and tips to make your talk a success.

The IHSA has also developed five mini on-demand webinars on key topics related to fall prevention that can form the basis of any workplace safety talk in the construction sector.

This year, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, make sure to keep a physical distance of at least two metres between participants during any in-person safety talks, wear face coverings where needed and hold talks outside when possible. Some workplaces may choose to hold safety talks virtually.

Want to promote Falls Awareness Week? Request a Falls Awareness Week Partner and Supporter Promotion Guide.

How to hold a successful falls safety talk

  1. Plan ahead. If possible, you may want to designate a coordinator to organize your safety talk. Think about asking owners, managers, subcontractors, supervisors or others associated with your project or workplace to participate.
  2. Review your fall prevention program. Think about what types of falls could happen at your workplace, what needs improvement, and what training and equipment you have provided to your workers. Is there room for improvement?
  3. Develop a safety talk that will meet your needs. Decide what information will be useful for your workplace, workers and anyone else participating. The meeting should provide information about hazards, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies, goals and expectations. Hands-on exercises (such as a workplace walk-around or equipment checks) can increase interest. Try to make it positive and interactive. Let workers talk about their experiences and encourage them to make suggestions. See the Resources section for materials to help host a safety talk.
  4. Decide when to hold the safety talk and how long it will last.
  5. Promote the safety talk. Try to make it interesting to employees.
  6. Hold your safety talk and follow‐up afterward. If you learned something that could improve your fall prevention program, consider making changes. Let your workers know how their participation directly influenced the changes.

Resources

Find more information on preventing falls at work below.

Construction

Industrial

Health care

Mining

All sectors

Proper ergonomics can protect workers from slips, trips and falls or falling from a height (for example, when using a ladder). Learn more about ladder ergonomics and what employers can do to reduce falls.

The WSIB’s Health and Safety Excellence program can help you prevent falls in your workplace through a number of program topics including Recognition of Hazards, Risk Assessment, Control of Hazards, Health and Safety Training and Competency. Successful implementation of program topics may also earn WSIB rebates and recognition.

See the results of a cross-sector compliance initiative focused on slips, trips and falls during March-July 2019.