Northern Strands
Northern Strands Latest News

Latest News

How Long Does Fall Protection Certification Last in Saskatchewan?

When was the last time you checked to see when your employees (or your own), safety training certifications expired? Likely not since before Covid lockdowns almost 2 years ago...Fall protection training is one certification in particular you do not want to let lapse. Did you know that slips, trips and falls are typically the number one cause of lost time injuries? For this reason, companies whose employees perform work at heights often put fall protection training at the top of their priority list. Fall arrest training is essential and required in Saskatchewan for any employee working at heights (above 3 meters). Companies can incur hefty OH&S fines in Saskatchewan for employees that don't have up to date fall arrest training certification. 

Our Trainers are often asked, "How long does my fall arrest certification last in Saskatchewan?" This is a good question with a somewhat ambiguous answer. The answer is, "Depends on who you were trained by?". In Saskatchewan, there is no legislation that dictates the length of time a fall arrest certification is valid for. The company providing the training determines the length of time your fall arrest training certificate is valid. At Northern Strands, our training certification for our fall arrest course is valid for three years. 

Why train with Northern Strands and not the, "other guys" you usually book with?

  • We will train groups on site at your workplace. No need to send your people here, we will come to you!
  • Our training is hands on, practical and most person. Do you want your employees performing potentially dangerous work with training that is online- only and with no practical component?
  • We book on short notice and are flexible with scheduling. Need training for your people ASAP? Contact us and we will try our best to make it work.
  • Our trainers make it fun! Do your employees resist training because they can't stay awake?! Our trainers have designed courses in a format that makes them engaging, interesting, and collaborative. 

Northern Strands Safety Training Courses Include:

  • Fall Arrest Training
  • Below the Hook Rigging Training 
  • Crosby Rigging Training
  • Air Winch Training
  • Suspended Access Training
  • Overhead Traveling Crane Competent Operator (40 hour)
You can visit our training webpage here for more info 

Phone: 306-242-7073

How are Self-Retracting Lifelines rated in Canada, and when you need to recertify them

At Northern Strands, we are often asked questions regarding Fall Protection regulations and equipment recertification. One of the most common questions we receive is, "How are Self-Retracting Lifelines rated in Canada, and when do we need to recertify them?"

Here is how the governing body classes and rates SRL’s in Canada. Most of what you will find online is written in the US and the standards they use for fall protection are the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z359 series, in Canada, we go by a different standard, CSA Z259.

Where SRLs are concerned, the specific volume of the CSA Standards that pertains to them is the CSA Z259.2.2-17 standard. The “-17” part means that it was last updated in 2017, but did not come into force until 2019. 

This iteration of the standard also introduced a new “revalidation schedule”:

Type of useApplication ExamplesExample Conditions of UseUser Inspection FrequencyCompetent Person Inspection Frequency Revalidation Frequency
Infrequent to lightRescue/confined space, factory maintenanceGood storage conditions, indoor use, room temperature, clean environmentsBefore each useAnnuallyAt least every 5 years but not more than the intervals required by the manufacturer
Moderate to heavyTransportation, residential construction, utilities, warehouseFair storage conditions, indoor & extended outdoor use, various temperatures, clean & dusty environmentsBefore each useSemi-annually to annuallyAt least every 2 years but not more than intervals required by the manufacturer
Severe to continuousCommercial construction, oil and gas, mining, foundryHarsh storage conditions, prolonged or continuous use, all temperatures, dirty environmentsBefore each useQuarterly to semi-annuallyAt least annually but not more than the intervals required by the manufacturer

This standard’s predecessor, the Z259.2.2-14, classified SRLs into one of three types:

Type 1 – SRL length is 3m or less

Type 2 – SRL Length is greater than 3m, must be recertified 2 years after date of manufacturer and annually thereafter

Type 3 – SRL is designed with a retrieval system, every manufacturer is different, but it is usually some version of a hand crank on the SRL case. These also were required to be recertified 2 years after the date of manufacturer and annually thereafter

However, with the publication of the Z259.2.2-17 standard came a new classification system:

SRL:  Self Retracting Lifelines

SRL-LE: Self Retracting Lifeline, Leading Edge (where the lifeline might come in contact with a sharp edge or abrasive surface during a fall)

SRL – R: Self Retracting Lifeline, Rescue (retrieval system on the SRL)

SRL – LE – R: Self Retracting Lifeline, Leading Edge Rescue (combines the benefits of leading-edge protection and retrieval SRL)

The confusing part for everyone is that manufacturers are still producing and selling units that meet the specifications of both versions of the standard, but it’s important to know that ultimately either version of the standard is acceptable under provincial legislation. The most important thing is to find an SRL that suits your needs and keeps its users safe. An added benefit of seeking out an SRL that complies with the newer, “-17” version of the standard is that it may not have to be sent in for recertification as frequently depending on the conditions you are using them in.

Bring your companies SRL's to Northern Strands to have them revalidated / recertified. Or alternatively, you can purchase a new 3M SLR from Northern Strands. 

Phone: 306-242-7073

Need Fall Protection In a Tight Space? Northern Strands Can Provide a Solution

Northern Strands fall protection division was asked to perform an almost impossible task. The goal was to provide fall protection for workers that had to stand on top of food processing equipment to clean long sections of stainless steel.

During the initial onsite assessment, we realized we were going to have multiple issues trying to design a system for this particular area of the plant.  Due to the age and condition of the roof structure, it was going to be difficult to attach any fall protection equipment to the structure of the building.  When attaching any type of fall protection to a building it is imperative that the building can withstand any additional loads put on it which includes the fall protection system itself and any loads applied from a fall that could occur once the system is in use.  Another issue encountered was the fact that the area we were going to be working in had a lot of food processing equipment in a small area. With such a small footprint to work with, we recognized that installing a fall protection system that would best meet the needs of the client would be a difficult task to execute.

Due to the lack of clearance we had in the area we knew that a wire rope lifeline would not be a great fit for this situation as we needed to limit the fall distance a worker would encounter in the case of a fall.  Rigid rail was going to be our best option as it helps with clearance issues and gives the client an option for rescue if a worker were to fall.

Our design team was able to design stanchions that would allow our rigid rail system to cover all the areas that were required by the client and still be large enough to support the fall protection system ensuring the system met and exceeded all applicable industry standards.

The Northern Strands installation crew was able to layout the system so the client was still able to use and maintain all the equipment in the area which was a huge hurdle to cross.  With some very complicated rigging, the crew was able to install the stanchions and fall protection system promptly so the client was able to get up and running in a short amount of time.

The Northern Strands team was happy to take on this challenge and successfully help this client out.  Instead of saying “it can’t be done”, the team dug in and found a way to “get it done”.  Doing whatever we can to help a client stay safe is our number one priority and this was one instance where we had to get creative to meet our goal. Happy clients are always well worth the struggle.

Before the rigid rail system is installed.

After picture with rigid rail system installed

Engineered Fall Protection Division
3235 Millar Ave, Saskatoon SK, S7W 0S8

Dave Perrin - Fall Protection Sales
Fax: (306) 974-5527

Falls Off of Grain Bins Vs. Grain Bin Entrapment

Recently grain bin entrapment has been at the forefront of Agriculture news, particularly in the United States corn belt where a number of news articles have reported deaths from persons being engulfed in Corn. Sadly, more often than not, grain bin entrapment is usually fatal. Usually, unstable grain or corn collapses suddenly, burying workers who may be within it. This typically results in the person dying of asphyxiation. According to the Canadian Agriculture Safety Association, on average 3 to 4 people die per year from grain bin entrapment. In the United State this number is much higher. A recent study by Perdue University states that in the United States, there were 67 fatal and non-fatal cases involving all types of agricultural confined spaces in 2019. 39 of those cases resulted in a fatality.

In terms of total fatal and non-fatal cases how do falls from Grain bins or silos compare to grain bin entrapment cases?

If one was to Google "grain bin injuries", you will find many new articles on grain bin entrapment and only a handful on grain bin falls  This would lead one to thinking that there are more people being injured or killed from grain bin entrapment than people falling off of grain bins. This is actually far from the truth! Although there are less fatalities from falling from a grain bin or silo, as a whole,  the total number of fatal and non fatal injuries from falling off of a grain bin or silo are statistically much higher than grain bin entrapment. The reason you will not find as many news articles on falls from grain bins or silos is that serious injuries are not reported on near as often as fatalities. Yet falls on a farm are leading cause of worker lost time claims. The below AG Safe Alberta graph below is an example of Alberta worker lost time claims.
A worker or family member who is injured from falling from a grain bin is not only emotionally devastating, it can be financially devastating as well. Consider all the potential costs incurred by a lost time injury on your farm:
  • Incident investigation time
  • Wages paid for time lost
  • Worker overtime
  • Extra leader's time
  • Clerical time
  • Decreased output of injured worker upon return
  • Compensation costs
  • Medical costs
  • Damage to equipment
  • Repair costs
  • Replacement costs
  • Potential fines or lawsuits if safety regulations were not followed or negligence is proven. i.e. not providing proper personal protective equipment.

In conclusion, both potential grain bin entrapment and fall from grain bins should both be taken very seriously.With this said, the most likely incident to occur on your farm is a fall from a grain bin. Please strongly consider installing a grain bin fall protection system on your grain bins for the health and safety of your family, workers and the financial well being of your farm.

News articles from grain bin and silo fall resulting in injury or death:

Northern Strands' Engineers Offer Fall Protection Design Advice

Northern Strands is excited to announce our latest service, Fall Protection Design Lunch & Learns.  In person or via webinar. Learn the ins and outs of the fundamental principles of Fall Protection Design. Our team can teach the key points in Fall Protection design


Some of the topics covered in the Lunch & Learn will include: CSA Z259, Lifeline Design, Fall Protection Design, Anchor Loading, Fall Protection Layout, ANSI Fall Protection, Suspended Access, and more. For qualified companies we are offering Fall Protection Design lunch and learns in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.


Fall Protection is a serious business. Designing Engineered Fall Protection systems is a responsibility and privilege that we do not take lightly. 

Design experience is paramount. Backed by an experienced team with a thorough understanding of the applicable engineering principles, Northern Strands applies these principles to both flexible and rigid systems.