Falls

  • Content last reviewed: May 2019

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. These injuries and fatalities are preventable.

Across the province in all sectors, slips, trips and falls continue to be a significant problem and are among the leading causes of injuries resulting in workers missing time at work. Preventing such injuries is a critical goal of every safe and healthy workplace.

Safe At Work Ontario: Slips, trips and falls initiative

Due to the impact of falls across all sectors, the ministry is holding an initiative focused on slips, trips and falls hazards from March 18–July 12, 2019.

Phase 1 of the initiative is a compliance support and awareness campaign, which runs the length of the initiative (March 18–July 12, 2019), and will be supported by our health and safety association (HSA) partners.

Phase 2 of the initiative is a focused inspections campaign, which runs from April 15–July 12, 2019. To help prevent same level falls, inspectors will focus on slips, trips and fall hazards in all sectors. In workplaces where fall protection is required to prevent falls from heights, inspectors will check that adequate fall protection systems such as a travel restraint, fall restricting system, fall arrest system, safety net or guardrails are being used.

See the Resources section for information to assist workplaces in preparing for the initiative.

Falls Awareness Week

During the first week of May, the ministry asks workplaces to participate in Ontario’s annual Falls Awareness Week (FAW). FAW aims to bring awareness to the falls hazards that exist in every workplace, through workplace discussion and participation.

During FAW, workplaces are encouraged to stop work for 15–30 minutes to have a safety talk about fall hazards specific to their work environment.

In 2018, FAW targeted falls from heights in construction workplaces. In 2019, the campaign  brought attention to all types of falls, in all sectors.

Falls Awareness Week aims to create a positive change in workplace culture through the sharing of knowledge and experience. As part of a workplace’s Internal Responsibility System, all workplace parties have a role to play in maintaining a healthy and safe workplace.

How to participate in Falls Awareness Week

Workplaces 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 facilitating an environment of open communication where workplace questions and concerns can be addressed.

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 employees. Is there room for improvement?
  3. Develop a safety talk that will meet your needs. Decide what information will be best for your workplace and employees. The meeting should provide information to employees 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 employees talk about their experiences and encourage them to make suggestions.
  4. See the Resources section for materials on falls that the health and safety associations (HSAs) have developed to assist workplaces in hosting a safety talk.

  5. Decide when to hold the safety talk and how long it will last.
  6. Promote the safety talk. Try to make it interesting to employees. Some employers find that serving snacks increases participation.
  7. Hold your safety talk and follow–up afterward. If you learned something that could improve your fall prevention program, consider making changes.

Resources

We encourage you to use our falls resources and the materials on falls that the HSAs have developed to assist workplaces in preparing for the initiative.

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.

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