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Under One Roof

Canadian Roofing Reference Manual

1.6 Fall Protection

Roofers are exposed to hazards including falling from heights, falling through an opening and falling into operating machinery or hazardous substances.

The standards and training requirements governing fall protection is covered under provincial or territorial jurisdiction. All workers must be familiar and properly trained in accordance with the regulations for fall protection in the particular province or territory in which work is being performed.

Fall protection is typically required when:

  1. A worker could fall more than 3 m (10 ft) from any location.
  2. There is a fall hazard of more than 1.2 m (4 ft), if the work area is used as a path for a wheelbarrow or similar equipment.
  3. A worker could have access to the unprotected edge of any of the following work surfaces and is exposed to a fall of 2.4 m (8 ft) or more.
    • A roof while formwork is in place.
    • A scaffold platform or other work platform, runway, or ramp.
    • There are openings in floors, roofs, and other working surfaces not covered or protected.
    • There are open edges of slab formwork for floors and roofs.
    • A worker may fall into water, operating machinery, or hazardous substances.

The type of fall protection system that is used depends on the project task. The ideal fall protection system for any project is the system that removes the risk of falling entirely.

In most instances, a guardrail system is the most reliable and convenient means of fall protection and should always be your first choice. If guardrails are impractical, other methods of fall protection must be used such as a travel restraint system, fall-restricting system, fall- arrest system, or safety net.