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Procedures in place of fall protection equipment

Alberta OHS recognizes that it is not always reasonably practicable for an employer to provide a “hard” fall protection system that uses guardrails, a harness-lanyard-anchor combination or another fall protection system described in this Part.

The use of procedures in place of fall protection equipment is based on the employer determining that it is not reasonably practicable to provide a fall protection system for use by workers.

The justification as to why it is not reasonably practicable should be noted. If the use of a fall protection system is practicable, it must be used e.g. if anchor points are available or a fall protection system can be rigged without exposing workers to a greater hazard, then a fall protection system must be used.

The option of using an administrative procedure is not intended to allow an employer or worker to avoid using a fall protection system or some type of elevated work platform just because doing so may be inconvenient or take more time than using an administrative procedure.

A procedure-based fall protection system can only be used in the following situations:

(1) installation or removal of fall protection equipment (first person up/last person down) — typical examples may involve installing a fall arrest anchor at the peak of a roof, installing a perimeter guardrail system on a flat roof, installing a portable fall arrest post at height, etc.;

(2) roof inspection — applies to both flat and sloped roofs. Roof inspection includes school staff checking for and retrieving items that have been thrown on a school roof. If it is not possible to remain at least two metres from the edge of the roof while retrieving the object or toy, then a procedure-based approach can be used as long as the conditions listed below are met;

(3) emergency repairs — this does not include normal maintenance and service tasks;

(4) at-height transfers between equipment and structures if allowed by the manufacturer’s specifications — examples include transferring to and from a structure from some type of elevating work platform, an electric utility lineman transferring from a helicopter to a high voltage transmission line, etc.; and

(5) situations in which a worker must work on top of a vehicle or load

See OHS Code Explanation Guide 2009 for more information as well as ensure that you are following the most up to date OHS Code, Regs, and Act.