North Guard Fall Protection
North Guard
8520 73 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T6C DE4

Frequently Asked Questions

Fall Protection FAQ’s
Q: What standards apply?
A: Fall protection is addressed in specific standards for the construction industry. Depending on the industry and location, these regulations are Federally or Provincially regulated.(Please see the Links Page)Federal Registers (rules, proposed rules, and notices) preambles to final rules (background to final rules), directives (instructions for compliance officers), standard interpretations (official letters of interpretation of the standards), example cases, and national consensus standards related to fall protection.  Provincial and Territory Legislation  vary from region to region and may differ in their requirements greatly.  North Guard Fall Protection Inc. as a primary discipline, designs to the CSA Standard Z259.16-04 Design of Active Fall Protection Systems.

Q: What are the fall hazards and possible solutions associated with construction?
A: Occupational fatalities caused by falls remain a serious public health problem. Federal and Provincial Occupational statistics lists falls as one of the leading causes of traumatic occupational death, accounting for a large percentage of all occupational fatalities from trauma. Before you can begin a fall protection program, you must identify the potential fall hazards in your workplace. Any time a worker is at risk of injury working at heights, or if there is an usual risk of injury regardless of height, the worker is at risk and needs to be protected.  Although falls from any heights can be damaging, it is mostly the excessive heights falls which garner the attention. The following references aid in recognizing and evaluating hazards and possible solutions in the workplace.  Always have a healthy respect for heights regardless of how small they seem!!!

Q: What’s the fall distance?
A:Safety harness information for each brand and fall distance charts available.  Distance is a cumulative  formula of Anchor Height, Distance from Anchor to unguarded edge, connector type, equipment specifications and worker height.  It is critically important when calculating fall distances to know your equipment specifications and limitations!!

Q: What is the trigger height for fall protection?
A: Although this number varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, it needs to be stressed that ANY fall has the potential to cause injury or death.  The standard trigger height for fall protection in Alberta is 10 feet above a lower surface for construction applications. Typically the Oil Sands have set their height requirement for 6 feet.   General industry requires fall protection at 4 feet above a lower surface.  Always check with the jurisdictional requirements!

Q: What is fall protection?
A: Typically Fall Protection is a system that is designed to protect personnel from the risk of falls when working at elevated heights or when there is an usual risk of injury   These systems are generally categorized as Travel Restraint (Guard Rails, Fencing etc) and Fall Arrest (Lifelines, Rigid Rail Systems etc.).  Each system type is specific to limitations specified on the engineered drawings.  Never use a system that does not have these specifications in a Sealed Engineered Drawing!!  Understand the limitations before working!!

Q: Who is responsible to provide fall protection?
A: All workers have an obligation to use fall protection when required.  Company Fall Protection Guidelines are mandated by the governing bodies to provide training, and to ensure measures and policies are in place to ensure workers have a safe work environment   As the eyes and ears of the company, Managers and Supervisors have primary responsibility for providing safe working conditions to include Fall Protection.  North Guard Fall Protection’s Courses are one method of training. Additional ‘hands-on’ training on the specific equipment and procedures to be used may be required. The onus is on the employer to ensure that his or her staff is adequately trained. The responsibility to ensure workers are trained and the manner in which training is conducted rests with the employer.

Q: I have an engineered fall protection system, can I do the inspections?
A: Engineered Fall Protection Systems are generally required to be annually certified/inspected by an Authorized Person.  Many systems authorize a qualified person for this, but most lifeline designer brands require factory Authorized Companies.  Most fall arrest system standards do not allow for the end user to annually inspect their own systems.  This is not to be confused with pre-use inspections, which are  mandatory part of any Pre-Job Assessment.  North Guard has taken the applicable training and certifications to inspects almost every major manufacturer of engineered fall protection to ensure compliance and worker safety.

Q: What is the difference in fall protection “Worker” and fall protection “Awareness” training?
A: Worker training targets individuals required to work in hazardous situations where fall protection equipment, such as fall arrest or restraint devices are used. “Awareness” training is required when an individual might access a roof to visually inspect equipment/conditions without actually getting near an unprotected edge. Do basically, awareness training allows workers to make informed decisions when working around areas with unprotected edge of 4 feet or more.

Q: Should tool belts be worn under or over full body harnesses?
A: Raising tools separate from the worker is sometimes safer and easier on the worker. If you must wear both, harnesses go on first closest to the body for a firm, yet comfortable fit. Tool belts should not impede the movement of harness straps during a fall and should not turn into a waist belt that could damage stomach organs in the fall.  Some manufacturers have auxiliary tool belts/pouches which are specifically designed for attachment to harnesses. Always be aware that tools and tool belts must be added into the end users mass, and this may affect the function and performance of the fall protection equipment!!

Q: Where do the D-rings need to be located on the harness for my application?
A: The back D-ring, also called the Dorsal D-ring, are only D-rings rated for fall arrest. The front D-ring, or Sternal D-ring, are for climbing vertical ladder systems, some harnesses have a lower d-ring located at the waist, these are for egress or rescue.   The hip D-rings are for work positioning, and the shoulder D-rings are generally identified for confined space egress or emergency rescue.

Q: How do I choose a harness?
A: There are many harnesses available and choice should be driven primarily by consideration for safety, functionality and comfort. Any properly designed harness is capable (if used correctly) of safety arresting a fall, but many work applications call for specific features. For instance; work positioning, ladder climbing and retrieval will require additional D-rings. Positioning may also require a built-in belt and back support and possibly an integral seat strap. Other features, such as integral padding, can greatly improve worker comfort, while others like bayonet style connectors and d-ring extenders can improve worker acceptance by making harnesses easier to don. North Guard offers a full range of harnesses with all these features, and our staff is available to advice on harness choice.

Contact Details

North Guard Fall Protection
8520 73 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T6C 0E4

Email Inqury:

Office Phone: (780) 499-5932