Industrial / Commercial Workers

Working at heights remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries for Ontario workers

The following guidelines make reference to the provisions regarding working at heights in the Regulation for Industrial Establishments and also outlines best practices, procedures and safety equipment for preventing injuries.

Risk assessment

  1. A competent person should assess the risks associated with any job task and identify, control or eliminate any fall hazards.
  2. The best option for eliminating a fall hazard is a guardrail system. A worker shall be adequately protected by a guardrail system that meets the requirements of the Regulation for Industrial Establishments.
  3. When the fall hazard cannot be eliminated, then the hazard shall be controlled by using a fall protection system in accordance with the applicable regulations for industrial establishments.

Hazard recognition

The fall prevention / protection protocols apply where a worker is exposed to the hazard of falling and the surface to which he or she might fall is more than three metres below the position where he or she is situated.

More robust protections are required when a worker is exposed to fall hazards shown below are more :

  • Falling into operating machinery
  • Falling into water or another liquid
  • Falling into or onto a hazardous substance or object
  • Falling though an opening in a work surface.


The Regulations for Construction Projects state: "An employer shall ensure that a worker who may use a fall protection system is adequately trained in its use and given adequate oral and written instructions by a competent person." Section 79 of the Regulation for Industrial Establishments requires that workers required to wear protective equipment such as fall protection equipment shall be instructed and trained in the care and use before wearing such equipment.

Among other things, employers shall ensure that:

  • training records are kept, including participants names and training dates
  • the training records are available to Ministry of Labour inspectors on request

Rescue plan

According to the Regulations written rescue procedures must be in place before a fall arrest system or a safety net is used. In addition, a rescue plan should be in place whenever a fall protection system is used. The plan should be posted in a conspicuous place.

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