at Heights

SafetyDriven – TSCBC provides employers with resources on this webpage necessary to help employees work safely while working at heights. Employers can make use of resources by implementing them into their health and safety program.

Falls from Height

Our company is aware that falls from height can occur when employees must work where a fall is likely to cause injury if no precautions are taken. This includes getting on and off a vehicle trailer, or climbing into or out of a cab, or working on the tops of vans. Any fall from height, even below average head height, can result in serious injury. Most common areas of the vehicle for workers to fall from are the load area, cab access steps, and the fifth wheel catwalk.

Fall Protection Assessment

All employees, owner operators, and contractors must use safe work procedures for working at height. Assess work area to identify fall hazards:

  1. at loading docks
  2. when securing loads on trucks
  3. when entering and exiting trucks and mobile equipment
  4. on warehouse or terminal walking surfaces

Legal Requirements for Fall Protection

Our company complies with these federal (COSHR) and provincial (WorkSafeBC) regulations:

Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 12.10 (formatted for easier reading)
Every employer shall provide a fall-protection system to any person, other than an employee who is installing or removing a fall-protection system in accordance with the instructions referred to in subsection (5), who works:

  • from an unguarded structure or on a vehicle at a height of more than 2.4m above the nearest permanent safe level or above any moving parts of machinery or any other surface or thing that could cause injury to a person on contact
  • from a temporary structure at a height of more than 6m above a permanent safe level
  • from a ladder at a height of more than 2.4 m above the nearest permanent safe level where, because of the nature of the work, that person is unable to use at least one hand to hold onto the ladder

WorkSafeBC Regulation Part 11 (formatted for easier reading)
11.2 Obligation to use fall protection
(1) Unless elsewhere provided for in this Regulation, an employer must ensure that a fall protection system is used when work is being done:

  • at a place from which a fall of 3 m (10 ft) or more may occur


  • where a fall from a height of less than 3 m involves a risk of injury greater than the risk of injury from the impact on a flat surface.

11.3 Fall protection plan
(1) The employer must have a written fall protection plan for a workplace if work is being done at a location:

  • where workers are not protected by permanent guardrails


  • from which a fall of 7.5 m (25 ft) or more may occur.


All workers that will be required to work at heights must have appropriate training. ABCXX Trucking will ensure all workers have appropriate ?working at heights? training and certification.

Fall Hazard and Risk Assessment

  1. Management must review work activities with potential for falls from height:
    1. Conduct job safety analysis.
    2. Review incident and injury reports to identify tasks or jobs with risk for falls.
  2. All employees must look for potential fall hazards:
    1. Identify hazards when inspecting workplace and equipment.
    2. Report falls.
  3. Management must take control measures to eliminate fall hazards:
    1. Document hazard identification and risk assessment.
    2. Develop safe work procedures based on identification and risk.

Company-specific fall hazards

Tasks with high potential for falls from height are:

  • tarping a load
  • drivers or warehouse workers loading materials on flatbed trailers
  • drivers accessing top of tank trailers
  • warehouse workers using power lift trucks to access high level storage racks
  • building maintenance activities (such as replacing lights at a high level)

Working at Height Safe Work Practices

Controls and safe work practices to avoid falls include:

  • Training
  • Communication
  • Additional precautions for heights
  • Safe access to vehicles
  • Checking personal protective equipment before use
  • Fall protection hierarchy of controls

Fall Protection Hierarchy of Controls

For safe work practices, follow this hierarchy of controls. (Actions at the top of the list reduce risks more than controls lower down on the list.)

  1. Avoid work at height if possible.
  2. If work at height cannot be avoided, use work equipment to prevent falls:
    • 1st choice is vehicle-based systems
    • 2nd choice is on-site systems
  3. Where risk of a fall cannot be eliminated, use work equipment to minimize the distance and consequences of a fall.
  4. Always consider measures (such as platforms and guardrails) that protect everyone at risk before measures (such a safety harness) that only protect the individual.

Safe Work Procedure?tarping a load

  1. Use personal protective equipment (PPE)
    1. safety glasses
    2. gloves that fit well and allow good dexterity
    3. high visibility vest
    4. hard hat
    5. good traction-control shoes with ankle support
  2. Climb load
    1. Have a forklift operator place the tarp on the load.
    2. Follow ladder safety procedure:
      • Use a spotter to hold ladder while climbing.
      • Inspect side rails and rungs before climbing.
      • Extend ladder 3 feet (1 metre) above load.
      • Maintain 3 point contact with ladder.
      • Use caution when transitioning to/from ladder.
    3. Watch for open or uneven sections of the load.
  3. Unfold tarp
    1. Position tarp on the back of the load.
    2. Never walk backward.
    3. Watch for holes in load.
    4. Work from hands and knees near load edges.
    5. Carefully unfold the tarp and drop over sides.
    6. Fasten near folds from the top of the load.
  4. Fasten tarp
    1. Wear safety glasses.
    2. Use a bungee to help hold the tarp ?helping hand.?
    3. Pull bungee away from your face and body.
    4. Keep your fingers away from pinch points.
    5. Turn hooks so they face away from tarp.
  5. Remove tarp
    1. Grab one corner and yank up to get air under the tarp.
    2. Use a steady, balanced, tug-of war pull.
    3. Get the tarp neat, flat, and square to make it easy to fold.
    4. Work smart?drag tarp to storage area.
    5. Use proper lifting techniques or forklift to lift tarp.


Tips & Tricks



Safety Talk

Interactive Tools