Occupational Health and Safety Code

The Occupational Health and Safety Code provides specific technical health and safety rules and requirements for Alberta workplaces.

Alberta Regulation 191/2021

Part 9 Fall Protection

Contents

 

Rescue personnel exemption

 

138

Rescue personnel involved in training or in providing emergency rescue services may use equipment, personal protective equipment and practices other than those specified in this Part.

 

General protection

 

139(1)

An employer and a supervisor must ensure that a worker is protected from falling if a worker may fall,

(a) at a temporary or permanent work area, a vertical distance of 3 metres or more,

(b) at a temporary or permanent work area, a vertical distance of less than 3 metres if there is an unusual possibility of injury,

(c) at a temporary or permanent work area, into or onto a hazardous substance or object, or through an opening in a work surface, or

(d) at a permanent work area, a vertical distance of more than 1.2 metres and less than 3 metres.

139(2)

For the purposes of this section, there is an unusual possibility of injury if the injury may be worse than an injury from landing on a solid, flat surface.

139(3)

Subject to subsection (5), an employer must install a guardrail.

139(4)

Repealed.

139(5)

Subject to subsection (6), if the use of a guardrail is not reasonably practicable, an employer and a supervisor must ensure that a worker uses a travel restraint system that meets the requirements of this Part.

139(6)

Subject to subsection (7), if the use of a travel restraint system is not reasonably practicable, an employer and a supervisor must ensure that a worker uses a personal fall arrest system that meets the requirements of this Part.

139(7)

If the use of a personal fall arrest system is not reasonably practicable, an employer and a supervisor must ensure that a worker uses equally effective controls.

139(8)

A worker must use a fall protection system as required by this section.

 

Fall protection plan

 

140(1)

An employer must develop procedures that comply with this Part in a fall protection plan for a work site if a worker at the work site may fall 3 metres or more and the worker is not protected by guardrails.

140(2)

A fall protection plan must specify

(a) the fall hazards at the work site,

(b) the fall protection system to be used at the work site,

(c) the anchors to be used during the work,

(d) that clearance distances below the work area, if applicable, have been confirmed as sufficient to prevent a worker from striking the ground or an object or level below the work area,

(e) the procedures used to assemble, maintain, inspect, use and disassemble the fall protection system, where applicable, and

(f) the rescue procedures to be used if a worker falls and is suspended by a personal fall arrest system or safety net and needs to be rescued.

140(3)

The employer must ensure that the fall protection plan is available at the work site and is reviewed with workers before work with a risk of falling begins.

140(4)

The employer must ensure that the plan is updated when conditions affecting fall protection change.

 

Instruction of workers

 

141(1)

An employer must ensure that a worker is trained in the safe use of the fall protection system before allowing the worker to work in an area where a fall protection system must be used.

141(2)

The training referred to in subsection (1) must include the following:

(a) a review of current Alberta legislation pertaining to fall protection;

(b) an understanding of what a fall protection plan is;

(c) fall protection methods a worker is required to use at a work site;

(d) identification of fall hazards;

(e) assessment and selection of specific anchors that the worker may use;

(f) instructions for the correct use of connecting hardware;

(g) information about the effect of a fall on the human body, including

(i) maximum arresting force,

(ii) the purpose of shock and energy absorbers,

(iii) swing fall, and

(iv) free fall;

(h) pre‑use inspection;

(i) emergency response procedures to be used at the work site, if necessary;

(j) practice in

(i) inspecting, fitting, adjusting and connecting fall protection systems and components, and

(ii) emergency response procedures.

141(3)

In addition to the training described in subsection (2), an employer must ensure that a worker is made aware of the fall hazards particular to that work site and the steps being taken to eliminate or control those hazards.

 

Full body harness

 

142(1)

An employer must ensure that

(a) a full body harness manufactured on or after July 1, 2009 is approved to

(i) CSA Standard CAN/CSA Z259.10‑06, Full Body Harnesses,

(ii) ANSI/ASSE Standard Z359.1‑2007, Safety requirements for personal fall arrest systems, subsystems and components, or

(iii) CEN Standard EN 361:2007, Personal protective equipment against falls from a height — Full body harnesses,

and

(b) a worker using a personal fall arrest system wears and uses a full body harness.

142(2)

A worker using a personal fall arrest system must wear and use a full body harness.

 

Body belt

 

142.1

An employer must ensure that

(a) a body belt manufactured on or after July 1, 2009 is approved to

(i) CSA Standard Z259.1‑05, Body belts and saddles for work positioning and travel restraint,

(ii) ANSI/ASSE Standard A10.32‑2004, Fall Protection Systems — American National Standard for Construction and Demolition Operations, or

(iii) CEN Standard EN 358: 2000, Personal protective equipment for work positioning and prevention of falls from a height — Belts for work positioning and restraint and work positioning lanyards, and

(b) a worker uses a body belt only as part of a travel restraint system or as part of a fall restrict system.

 

Lanyard

 

142.2(1)

An employer must ensure that a lanyard manufactured on or after July 1, 2009 is approved to

(a) CSA Standard Z259.11‑05, Energy absorbers and lanyards,

(b) ANSI/ASSE Standard Z359.1‑2007, Safety requirements for personal fall arrest systems, subsystems and components, or

(c) CEN Standard EN 354:2002, Personal protective equipment against falls from a height — Lanyards.

142.2(2)

An employer must ensure that a lanyard used by a worker is made of wire rope or other material appropriate to the hazard if a tool or corrosive agent that could sever, abrade or burn a lanyard is used in the work area.

142.2(3)

Despite subsection (2), if a worker works near an energized conductor or in a work area where a lanyard made of conductive material cannot be used safely, the employer must ensure that the worker uses another effective means of fall protection.

 

Shock absorber

 

142.3(1)

An employer must ensure that if a shock absorber or shock absorbing lanyard is used as part of a personal fall arrest system, it is approved to one of the following standards if manufactured on or after July 1, 2009:

(a) CSA Standard Z259.11‑05, Energy absorbers and lanyards;

(b) ANSI/ASSE Standard Z359.1‑2007, Safety requirements for personal fall arrest systems, subsystems and components;

(c) CEN Standard EN 355:2002, Personal protective equipment against falls from a height — Energy absorbers.

142.3(2)

An employer must ensure that a personal fall arrest system consists of a full body harness and a lanyard equipped with a shock absorber or similar device.

142.3(3)

Despite subsection (2), a shock absorber or similar device is not required if the personal fall arrest system is used in accordance with section 151.

142.3(4)

Despite subsection (2), a shock absorber is required with a fixed ladder fall arrest system only if it is required by the manufacturer of the system.

 

Connectors, carabiners and snap hooks

 

143(1)

An employer must ensure that connecting components of a fall arrest system consisting of carabiners, D‑rings, O‑rings, oval rings, self‑locking connectors and snap hooks manufactured on or after July 1, 2009 are approved, as applicable, to

(a) CSA Standard Z259.12‑01 (R2006), Connecting Components for Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS),

(b) ANSI/ASSE Standard Z359.1‑2007, Safety requirements for personal fall arrest systems, subsystems and components,

(c) CEN Standard EN 362:2004, Personal protective equipment against falls from a height — Connectors, or

(d) CEN Standard 12275:1998, Mountaineering equipment — Connectors — Safety requirements and test methods.

143(2)

An employer must ensure that a carabiner or snap hook

(a) is self‑closing and self‑locking,

(b) may only be opened by at least 2 consecutive deliberate manual actions, and

(c) is marked with

(i) its breaking strength in the major axis, and

(ii) the name or trademark of the manufacturer.

 

Fall arresters

 

144

An employer must ensure that a fall arrestor manufactured on or after July 1, 2009 is approved to

(a) CSA Standard Z259.2.1‑98 (R2004), Fall Arresters, Vertical Lifelines, and Rails,

(b) ANSI/ASSE Standard Z359.1‑2007, Safety requirements for personal fall arrest systems, subsystems and components, or

(c) CEN Standard EN 353‑2:2002, Personal protective equipment against falls from a height — Part 2: Guided type fall arrestors including a flexible anchor line.

 

Self‒retracting device

 

145

An employer must ensure that a self‑retracting device manufactured on or after July 1, 2009 and used with a personal fall arrest system is

(a) approved to CSA Standard Z259.2.2‑98 (R2004), Self‑Retracting Devices for Personal Fall Arrest Systems,

(b) anchored above the worker’s head unless the manufacturer’s specifications allow the use of a different anchor location, and

(c) used in a manner that minimizes the hazards of swinging and limits the swing drop distance to 1.2 metres if a worker falls.

 

Descent control device

 

146

An employer must ensure that an automatic or manual descent control device manufactured on or after July 1, 2009 and used with a personal fall arrest system is approved to

(a) CSA Standard Z259.2.3‑99 (R2004), Descent Control Devices,

(b) CEN Standard EN 341:1997, Personal protective equipment against falls from a height — Descender devices, or

(c) NFPA Standard 1983, Standard on Life Safety Rope and Equipment for Emergency Services, 2006 edition, classified as general or light duty.

 

Life safety rope

 

147(1)

An employer must ensure that a life safety rope manufactured on or after July 1, 2009 and used in a fall protection system

(a) is approved to

(i) NFPA Standard 1983, Standard on Life Safety Rope and Equipment for Emergency Services, 2006 Edition, as light use or general use life safety rope, or

(ii) CEN Standard EN 1891:1998, Personal protective equipment for the prevention of falls from a height — Low stretch kernmantle ropes, as Type A rope,

or

(b) meets the requirements of

(i) CSA Standard CAN/CSA Z259.2.1‑98 (R2004), Fall Arresters, Vertical Lifelines, and Rails, or

(ii) ANSI/ASSE Standard Z359.1‑2007, Safety requirements for personal fall arrest systems, subsystems and components.

147(2)

An employer must ensure that a life safety rope used in a fall protection system

(a) extends downward to within 1.2 metres of ground level or another safe lower surface,

(b) is free of knots or splices throughout the travel portion except for a stopper knot at its lower end,

(c) is effectively protected to prevent abrasion by sharp or rough edges,

(d) is made of material appropriate to the hazard and able to withstand adverse effects, and

(e) is installed and used in a manner that minimizes the hazards of swinging and limits the swing drop distance to 1.2 metres if a worker falls.

147(3)

A worker must use a vertical life safety rope in a manner that minimizes the hazards of swinging and limits the swing drop distance to 1.2 metres if a worker falls.

147(4)

An employer must ensure that only one worker is attached to a life safety rope at any one time unless the manufacturer’s specifications or specifications certified by a professional engineer allow for the attachment of more than one worker.

 

Adjustable lanyard for work positioning

 

148

An employer must ensure that an adjustable lanyard manufactured on or after July 1, 2009 and used by a worker as part of a work positioning system is approved to

(a) CSA Standard Z259.11‑05, Energy absorbers and lanyards, as a Class F adjustable positioning lanyard, or

(b) CEN Standard EN 358:2000, Personal protective equipment for work positioning and prevention of falls from a height — Belts for work positioning and restraint and work positioning lanyards.

 

Rope adjustment device for work positioning

 

148.1

An employer must ensure that a rope adjustment device manufactured on or after July 1, 2009 and used by a worker as part of a work positioning system is approved to

(a) CSA Standard Z259.2.3‑99 (R2004), Descent Control Devices,

(b) CEN Standard EN 341:1997, Personal protective equipment against falls from a height — Descender devices, or

(c) NFPA Standard 1983, Standard on Life Safety Rope and Equipment for Emergency Services, 2006 Edition, classified as general or light duty.

 

Wood pole climbing

 

149(1)

An employer must ensure that a worker working on or from a wood pole uses fall restrict equipment that is approved to CSA Standard Z259.14‑01, Fall Restrict Equipment for Wood Pole Climbing, in combination with

(a) a lineman’s body belt that

(i) is approved to CSA Standard Z259.3‑M1978 (R2003), Lineman’s Body Belt and Lineman’s Safety Strap, or

(ii) complies with section 142.1,

or

(b) a full body harness that complies with section 142(1).

149(2)

Subsection (1) does not apply to fall restrict equipment or a lineman’s body belt in use before April 30, 2004.

 

Equipment compatibility

 

150

An employer must ensure that all components of a fall protection system are compatible with one another and with the environment in which they are used.

 

Inspection and maintenance

 

150.1

An employer must ensure that the equipment and personal protective equipment used as part of a fall protection system is

(a) inspected by the worker as required by the manufacturer before it is used on each work shift,

(b) kept free from substances and conditions that could contribute to deterioration of the equipment and personal protective equipment, and

(c) re‑certified as specified by the manufacturer.

 

Removal from service

 

150.2(1)

An employer must ensure that equipment and personal protective equipment used as part of a fall protection system is removed from service and either returned to the manufacturer or destroyed if

(a) it is defective, or

(b) it has come into contact with excessive heat, a chemical or any other substance that may corrode or otherwise damage the fall protection system.

150.2(2)

An employer must ensure that after a personal fall arrest system has stopped a fall, the system is removed from service.

150.2(3)

An employer must ensure that a personal fall arrest system that is removed from service is not returned to service unless a professional engineer or the manufacturer certifies that the system is safe to use.

 

Prusik and similar knots

 

150.3

An employer must ensure that a Prusik or similar sliding hitch knot is used in place of a fall arrester only during emergency situations or during training for emergency situations and only by a competent worker.

 

Clearance, maximum arresting force and swing

 

151(1)

An employer must ensure that a personal fall arrest system is arranged so that a worker cannot hit the ground, an object which poses an unusual possibility of injury or a level below the work area.

151(2)

An employer must ensure that a personal fall arrest system without a shock absorber limits a worker’s free‑fall distance to 1.2 metres.

151(3)

An employer must ensure that a personal fall arrest system limits the maximum arresting force on a worker to 6 kilonewtons, unless the worker is using an E6 type shock absorber in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications, in which case the maximum arresting force must not exceed 8 kilonewtons.

151(4)

A worker must limit the vertical distance of a fall by

(a) selecting the shortest length lanyard that will still permit unimpeded performance of the worker’s duties, and

(b) securing the lanyard to an anchor no lower than the worker’s shoulder height.

151(5)

If the shoulder height anchor required by subsection (4)(b) is not available, a worker must secure the lanyard to an anchor that is located as high as is reasonably practicable.

151(6)

If it is not reasonably practicable to attach to an anchor above the level of a worker’s feet, the worker must ensure that the clearance and maximum arresting force requirements of subsections (1) and (3) are met.

Anchors
 

Anchor strength — permanent

 

152(1)

An employer must ensure that a permanent anchor is capable of safely withstanding the impact forces applied to it and has a minimum breaking strength per attached worker of 16 kilonewtons or 2 times the maximum arresting force in any direction in which the load may be applied.

152(2)

Subsection (1) does not apply to anchors installed before July 1, 2009.

152(3)

Subsection (1) does not apply to the anchors of flexible horizontal lifeline systems that must meet the requirements of section 153(1).

152(4)

The employer must ensure that an anchor rated at 2 times the maximum arresting force is designed, installed and used in accordance with

(a) the manufacturer’s specifications, or

(b) specifications certified by a professional engineer.

 

Anchor strength — temporary

 

152.1(1)

An employer must ensure that a temporary anchor used in a travel restraint system

(a) has a minimum breaking strength in any direction in which the load may be applied of at least 3.5 kilonewtons per worker attached,

(b) is installed, used and removed according to the manufacturer’s specifications or specifications certified by a professional engineer,

(c) is permanently marked as being for travel restraint only, and

(d) is removed from use on the earliest of

(i) the date on which the work project for which it is intended is completed, or

(ii) the time specified by the manufacturer or professional engineer.

152.1(2)

An employer must ensure that a temporary anchor used in a personal fall arrest system

(a) has a minimum breaking strength in any direction in which the load may be applied of at least 16 kilonewtons or 2 times the maximum arresting force per worker attached,

(b) is installed, used and removed according to the manufacturer’s specifications or specifications certified by a professional engineer, and

(c) is removed from use on the earliest of

(i) the date on which the work project for which it is intended is completed, or

(ii) the time specified by the manufacturer or professional engineer.

 

Duty to use anchors

 

152.2(1)

If a worker uses a personal fall arrest system or a travel restraint system, the worker must ensure that it is safely secured to an anchor that meets the requirements of this Part.

152.2(2)

An employer must ensure that a worker visually inspects the anchor prior to attaching a fall protection system.

152.2(3)

An employer must ensure that a worker does not use a damaged anchor until the anchor is repaired, replaced or re‑certified by the manufacturer or a professional engineer.

152.2(4)

An employer must ensure that a worker uses an anchor connector appropriate to the work.

152.2(5)

A worker must use an anchor connector appropriate to the work.

 

Independence of anchors

 

152.3

An employer must ensure that an anchor to which a personal fall arrest system is attached is not part of an anchor used to support or suspend a platform.

 

Wire rope sling as anchor

 

152.4

An employer must ensure that a wire rope sling used as an anchor is terminated at both ends with a Flemish eye splice rated to at least 90 percent of the wire rope’s minimum breaking strength.

 

Flexible and rigid horizontal lifeline systems

 

153(1)

An employer must ensure that a flexible horizontal lifeline system manufactured on or after July 1, 2009 meets the requirements of

(a) CSA Standard Z259.13‑04, Flexible Horizontal Lifeline Systems, or

(b) the applicable requirements of CSA Standard Z259.16‑04, Design of Active Fall‑Protection Systems.

153(2)

An employer must ensure that a rigid horizontal fall protection system is designed, installed and used in accordance with

(a) the manufacturer’s specifications, or

(b) specifications certified by a professional engineer.

 

Installation of horizontal lifeline systems

 

153.1

An employer must ensure that before a horizontal lifeline system is used, a professional engineer, a competent person authorized by the professional engineer, the manufacturer or a competent person authorized by the manufacturer certifies that the system has been properly installed according to the manufacturer’s specifications or to specifications certified by a professional engineer.

 

Fixed ladders and climbable structures

 

154(1)

An employer must ensure that if a worker is working from or on a fixed ladder or climbable structure at a height of 3 metres or more and is not protected by a guardrail, continuous protection from falling is provided by

(a) equipping the fixed ladder or climbable structure with an integral fall protection system that meets the requirements of

(i) CSA Standard Z259.2.1‑98 (R2004), Fall Arresters, Vertical Lifelines, and Rails, or

(ii) ANSI/ASSE Standard Z359.1‑2007, Safety requirements for personal fall arrest systems, subsystems and components,

or

(b) an alternate fall protection system.

154(2)

Subsection (1) applies to fixed ladders and climbable structures constructed and installed after July 1, 2009.

 

Fall protection on vehicles and loads

 

155(1)

If a worker may have to climb onto a vehicle or its load at any location where it is not reasonably practicable to provide a fall protection system for the worker, an employer must

(a) take steps to eliminate or reduce the need for the worker to climb onto the vehicle or its load, and

(b) ensure that the requirements of section 159(2) are met.

155(2)

In addition to the requirements of subsection (1), an employer must ensure that if a load is not secured against movement, a worker does not climb onto the load.

155(3)

A worker must not climb onto a load if the load is not secured against movement.

 

Boom‒supported work platforms and aerial devices

 

156(1)

An employer must ensure that a worker on a boom‑supported elevating work platform, boom‑supported aerial device, or forklift truck work platform uses a personal fall arrest system

(a) connected to

(i) an anchor specified by the manufacturer of the work platform, aerial device or forklift truck, or

(ii) if no anchor is specified by the manufacturer, an anchor point certified by a professional engineer that meets the requirements of CSA Standard Z259.16‑04, Design of Active Fall‑Protection Systems,

and

(b) when connected to the anchor, the lanyard, if reasonably practicable, is short enough to prevent the worker from being ejected from the work platform or aerial device but is long enough to allow the worker to perform the worker’s work.

156(2)

An employer must ensure that a worker on a scissor lift or on an elevating work platform with similar characteristics uses a travel restraint system consisting of a full body harness and lanyard

(a) connected to an anchor specified by the manufacturer of the scissor lift or elevating work platform, and

(b) when connected to the anchor, the lanyard, if reasonably practicable, is short enough to prevent the worker from falling out of the scissor lift or elevating work platform but is long enough to allow the worker to perform the worker’s work.

156(3)

Subsection (2) does not apply if

(a) the manufacturer’s specifications allow a worker to work from the scissor lift or elevating work platform with similar characteristics using only its guardrails for fall protection, and

(b) the scissor lift or elevating work platform is operating on a firm, substantially level surface.

156(4)

Despite subsection (2), if a worker’s movement cannot be adequately restricted in all directions by the travel restraint system, the employer must ensure that the worker uses a personal fall arrest system.

 

Water danger

 

157

An employer must ensure that a worker uses an appropriate fall protection system in combination with a life jacket or personal flotation device if the worker

(a) may fall into water that exposes the worker to the hazard of drowning, or

(b) could drown from falling into the water, from other than a boat.

 

Leading edge fall protection system

 

158

An employer using a leading edge fall protection system consisting of fabric or netting panels must ensure that

(a) the system is used only to provide leading edge fall protection,

(b) the system is used and installed according to the manufacturer’s specifications,

(c) a copy of the manufacturer’s specifications for the system is available to workers at the work site at which the system is being used,

(d) the fabric or netting is

(i) drop‑tested at the work site in accordance with the requirements of 29 CFR Section 1926.502(C)4(i) published by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or

(ii) certified as safe for use by a professional engineer,

and

(e) all workers using the system are trained in its use and limitations.

 

Procedures in place of fall protection equipment

 

159(1)

An employer may develop and use procedures in place of fall protection equipment in accordance with subsection (2), if

(a) it is not reasonably practicable to use one of the fall protection systems described in this Part, and

(b) use of procedures in place of fall protection equipment is restricted to the following situations:

(i) the installation or removal of fall protection equipment;

(ii) roof inspection;

(iii) emergency repairs;

(iv) at height transfers between equipment and structures if allowed by the manufacturer’s specifications; and

(v) situations in which a worker must work on top of a vehicle or load and the requirements of section 155 have been met.

159(1.1)

Repealed.

159(2)

An employer using procedures in place of fall protection equipment must ensure that

(a) a hazard assessment in accordance with the requirements of Part 2 is completed before work at height begins,

(b) the procedures to be followed while performing the work must be in writing and available to workers before the work begins,

(c) the work is carried out in such a way that minimizes the number of workers exposed to a fall hazard while work is performed,

(d) the work is limited to light duty tasks of limited duration,

(e) the worker performing the work is competent to do it,

(f) when used for inspection, investigation or assessment activities, these activities take place prior to the actual start of work or after work has been completed, and

(g) the procedures do not expose a worker to additional hazards.

 

Work positioning

 

160(1)

An employer must ensure that if a worker uses a work positioning system, the worker’s vertical free‑fall distance in the event of a fall is restricted by the work positioning system to 600 millimetres or less.

160(2)

If the centre of gravity of a worker using a work positioning system extends beyond an edge from which the worker could fall or if the work surface presents a slipping or tripping hazard because of its state or condition, an employer must ensure that the worker uses a back‑up personal fall arrest system in combination with the work positioning system.

160(3)

A worker must use a back‑up personal fall arrest system in combination with the work positioning system if the worker’s centre of gravity extends beyond an edge from which the worker could fall or if the work surface presents a slipping or tripping hazard because of its state or condition.

 

Control zones

 

161(1)

If a control zone is used, an employer must ensure that it

(a) is only used if a worker can fall from a surface that has a slope of no more than 4 degrees toward an unguarded edge or that slopes inwardly away from an unguarded edge, and

(b) is not less than 2 metres wide when measured from the unguarded edge.

161(2)

An employer must not use a control zone to protect workers from falling from a skeletal structure that is a work area.

161(3)

If a worker will at all times remain further from the unguarded edge than the width of the control zone, no other fall protection system need be used.

161(4)

Despite section 139, a worker is not required to use a fall protection system when crossing the control zone to enter or leave the work area.

161(5)

When crossing a control zone referred to in subsections (3) and (4), to get to or from the unguarded edge, a worker must follow the most direct route.

161(6)

An employer must ensure that a control zone is clearly marked with an effective raised warning line or another equally effective method if a worker is working within 2 metres of the control zone.

161(7)

An employer must ensure that a worker who must work within a control zone uses

(a) a travel restraint system, or

(b) an equally effective means of preventing the worker from getting to the unguarded edge.

161(8)

A person who is not directly required for the work at hand must not be inside a control zone.