Changes in fall protection standards in Quebec

Changes in fall protection standards in Quebec


The Commission de la santé et sécurité du travail (CSST) [Quebec’ occupational health and safety agency] is continuously looking for ways to ensure safety of all work at height carried out on Quebec’ work sites.

A few months ago, the commission made a series of legislative and regulatory changes to the Safety Code of the construction industry (CSTC). Here are the most important changes. If you are from other regions of Canada, they may give you ideas!

The safety harness: an increasingly indispensable tool

The Commission mainly focused on fall protection tools. The definition of certain terms was replaced, others were added. In particular, terms such as lifelines, lanyards, fall height and fall arrest connecting devices have been clarified.

Mostly, section 2.9.1 further specifies how the security harness must be worn when the worker cannot hold his position without aid. In this case, among others, a positioning system must be provided, in accordance with articles 2.10.12 and 2.10.15.

Also, section indicates when and how the warning line should be used. It is a prevention method to delineate a work zone and it must be installed within 2 meters of the roof edge or opening.

More stringent standards

The CSST has ruled that from now on, safety harnesses must comply with more stringent standards when used as part of a protective system. That’s why the section 2.10.12 was modified. The maximum arrest force exerted on the body must now be limited to 6kN (1,350 pounds), and the free fall must not exceed 1.8 meter (6 feet). The free fall height is measured from the D-ring to where the protection system starts to exert arrest force.

A new article on anchorage systems

The section 2.10.15 has been added to specify the requirements regarding anchorage systems and to ensure that the protective system is fixed to a safe attachment point. The fall arrest connection of the harness must be fixed to a single point of anchorage, a flexible continuous or rigid continuous anchorage system. In the last two cases, it must be designed and installed according to an engineering plan. Particularly, this plan must comply with CSA Z259.13 and Z259.16 standards.

Other amendments were made to the CSTC, especially about scaffoldings and ladders. To review the entire code, click here.

If you need advice on how to adapt to these changes, ask our fall protection experts!