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Safety and Security

Working at heights

Working at heights is considered any work that presents risk of injury due to falling. When working at heights, fall protection systems are used to protect workers from falling or to prevent severe injuries in the event of a fall. Specific fall protection systems are chosen according to the hierarchy of controls for fall protection systems and based on the risk profile of the work.

When is a Fall Protection System required?

UFV requires that a fall protection system be used whenever work is done at a place from which a fall of 3 meters could occur, or where a fall of less than 3 meters involves a risk of injury greater than the risk of injury from the impact on a flat surface.

Where is a Site-Specific Fall Protection Plan Required?

A written fall protection work plan must be produced and followed whenever a fall hazard 25 feet (7.5m) or more may occur and workers are not protected by permanent guardrails.

  • Complete the Written Site-Specific Fall Protection Plan for each task that falls under the conditions stated above.
  • Workers must understand this plan and be trained in the fall protection system and the equipment that will be used.
  • The fall protection work plan must be available (posted) at the workplace before work at height begins and remain posted at the worksite for the duration of the work activities.

Download the Written Site-Specific Fall Protection Plan »

Do I Need Fall Protection Training?

Workers using a fall protection system must be trained in the requirements of the system and knowledgeable of fall protection requirements according to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. Workers using personal fall arrest equipment (such as fall restraint or fall arrest) must be trained in safe use and limitations of personal fall protection equipment.

If you require Fall Protection Training, please contact your supervisor to arrange it.

What is the Hierarchy of Fall Protection Systems?

Where a fall protection system is required, the highest level of protection practicable is to be used. In the list below, the types of controls are listed in order of effectiveness:

  1. Elimination – Is it possible to complete the task using tools, equipment or alternative means so that the task can be completed from the ground rather than at height.
  2. Guardrails – Where fall hazards cannot be eliminated, permanent or temporary guardrails or handrails form a protective barrier around an opening or edge to prevent a fall to a lower level must be used first. These guardrails will meet the requirements of “Part 4 – General Conditions” of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.
  3. Fall (Travel) Restraint – Fall restraint systems prevent you from falling and workers are attached to a fixed-length line that prevents them from travelling too close to an opening or edge.
  4. Fall Arrest – Fall arrest systems protects you after a fall by stopping you from hitting the surface below.
  5. Alternative Work Procedures – Alternative procedures must be acceptable to WorkSafeBC and minimize the risk of injury to a worker from a fall. All instances where alternative work procedures are considered must be approved by the Safety & Security Office prior to the work.

Note: Personal fall protection equipment including that used for fall (travel) restraint and fall arrest must be inspected before each use, and the results recorded. Inspection checklists can be retrieved from the equipment manufacturer’s instructions.

Download the Fall Protection Equipment Inspection Log »

Additional Information

WorkSafeBC: An Introduction to Personal Fall Protection Equipment »

This booklet is an introduction to the proper use of personal fall protection equipment and outlines the safe use and limitations of personal fall protection equipment, including safety belts, harnesses, lanyards, and lifelines.

If you have any questions on working at height safety at UFV, contact your supervisor immediately. For additional support, contact Environmental Health and Safety at