Fall Prevention and Working at Heights

Falls are a major cause of injury and death in Ontario workplaces. The vast majority of these incidents are falls from heights—even though the height may be no more than two or three metres.

This topic page provides helpful information about working at heights training and ways to prevent fall injuries and fatalities.


Root-Cause Analysis Report

IHSA partnered with the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training, and Skills Development (MLITSD) and industry-recognized subject matter experts to conduct a root-cause analysis on the causes construction workers in residential roofing falling while working at heights. For more information, visit Working at Height (Falls): Residential Roofing-Phase 1.


Mandatory Training Requirements

Working at heights (WAH) training is mandatory for workers who may use a method of fall protection to protect themselves from a fall hazard. Employers must ensure that their workers are provided with Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) approved working at heights training. A WAH refresher course must be taken every three years to maintain this training.

IHSA was one of Ontario's first CPO-approved working at heights training providers. We offer the following courses:


In addition, employers must ensure that workers are given site-specific training and proper oral and written instructions. This includes making them aware of fall hazards at the project and providing instruction on the particular equipment they will be using.

To meet this requirement, employers should ensure that the site supervisor conducts a hazard assessment or job safety analysis (JSA) of the jobsite and develops a fall protection work plan. The supervisor should review the results of the assessment and the requirements of the fall protection work plan with workers on the site.

If workers use a fall arrest system, employers must develop procedures for rescuing a suspended worker. They can also put up posters and warning signs around the worksite and distribute stickers to workers to remind them about fall hazards on site.

We have provided the following resources to help employers meet their site-specific training obligations:


WAH Quick Reference Guide (V001)

WAH Quick Reference Guide

This pocket-sized booklet can be used by those who work at heights as a quick reference guide to prevent fall-related incidents. It contains information on recognizing fall hazards, inspecting fall protection equipment, and calculating fall clearance distance.

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Job Safety Analysis/Hazard Assessment Template

This will show supervisors where the hazards are and where fall protection is required. Once the hazards have been identified, the supervisor must find the most appropriate solutions to eliminate or control the hazards. These solutions should be included in the fall protection work plan.

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Fall Protection Work Plan Template (BR005)

This is a step-by-step guide for controlling fall hazards on your jobsite. It is intended to offer guidance and instruction for workers using fall protection. It’s easy to follow and will help supervisors choose the best method of fall protection that is available to them under the circumstances.

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Sample Fall Rescue Procedures

Before any worker uses a fall arrest system on a project, the employer is legally required to develop written procedures for rescuing someone whose fall has been arrested. These rescue procedures should also be reviewed with the workers and must be posted in a conspicuous place at the project. We have provided some sample fall rescue procedures that employers can customize to meet their needs.

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Health and Safety Advisory: Working at Heights - Site-Specific Training (W254)

Health and Safety Advisory Working at Heights Site-Specific Training

All Ontario workers on a construction project who may use a method of fall protection to protect themselves from a fall hazard must receive approved working at heights (WAH) training. However, an important part of WAH training that is often overlooked is the requirement for the employer to provide site-specific WAH training. This advisory contains helpful information on providing site-specific WAH training to workers. 2 pages. Revised August 2020.

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Top 10 Causes of Workers Falling from Heights (W208)

Top 10 Causes of Workers Falling from Heights

Falls are a major cause of injury and death in Ontario workplaces, and the vast majority of these incidents are workers falling from heights. Workers and employers in residential construction, along with IHSA and the MLITSD, conducted a root-cause analysis of why workers in residential roofing fall from heights. This document identifies the top 10 causes they found. 2021 edition. 3 pages.

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Fall Prevention Toolkit (W016)

Fall Prevention Toolkit

Developed to promote Falls Awareness Week, this toolkit contains resources such as safety talks, forms, checklists, articles, advisories, and posters. These resources can help employers develop site-specific WAH training and educate their workers on how to protect themselves from fall hazards.

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Fifteen steps supervisors can take to prevent falls

Fifteen steps supervisors can take to prevent falls

It’s a supervisor’s legal obligation to take every precaution reasonable under the circumstances to protect workers. That’s an important duty that can sometimes seem overwhelming.

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Visit our Slips, Trips, and Falls topic page. There you'll find other helpful resources.


Construction Health & Safety Manual


Safety Talks


Articles and Documents


IHSA YouTube Videos


Policy and Program Resources

A company's health and safety policy and program should include safe work practices or safe job procedures, requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE), an emergency response plan, and regular inspections. The sample documents below are a guide to help you create these elements with regards to fall hazards. For more resources, visit the Policy and Program Templates section.


Safe Work Practices/Safe Job Procedures


Personal Protective Equipment


Emergency Preparedness


Workplace Inspections