LADDERS: 6 Key Facts about Complying with Portable Ladder Requirements

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14 Dos & Don’ts of Safe Portable Ladder Use

When using portable ladders, workers SHOULD: 1. Try to maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times 2. Carry tools in a tool belt or raise and lower them with a hand line 3. Ensure that their shoes/boots are clean and have slip-free soles 4. Face the ladder and stand in the centre of the side rails 5. Secure the ladder from moving or have a co-worker hold it 6. Ensure the legs of a step ladder are fully extended and locked in place 7. Make sure they and their materials don’t exceed the ladder’s load limit But workers SHOULD NOT: 1. Work from either of the top two rungs, steps or cleats or the bucket/pail shelf of a portable ladder unless the manufacturer’s specifications allow the worker to do so 2. Carry heavy or bulky objects or any other object that may make going up or down the ladder unsafe 3. Splice or lash ladders together to extend their length 4. Place ladders in front of or against a door unless the door is blocked in the open position, locked or otherwise guarded 5. Use a ladder as scaffold flooring, support for scaffold flooring or a horizontal walkway 6. Place a ladder on a box, barrel or other unstable base 7. Move a ladder while someone is on it

Various types of portable ladders, such as step and extension ladders, are such a common sight in many workplaces that it’s easy to overlook the requirements in the OHS laws for these important tools. And the OHS regulations do have many requirements for portable ladders, covering everything from how they’re constructed and maintained to how they’re used. So here’s a look at the portable ladder requirements in the OHS laws and how to comply with them.

Defining Our Terms

This article covers the general requirements for portable ladders, such as step ladders and extension ladders—not for ladders that are fixed in place, which have their own requirements, or for specialized ladders, such as orchard ladders.

INSPECTION FORM: Go to the Insider’s online partner site, www.OHSInsider.com, to download a form that workers can use to inspect ladders before using them.

5 AREAS COVERED BY PORTABLE LADDER REQUIREMENTS

The OHS regulations in all jurisdictions have requirements for portable ladders. These requirements may apply to portable ladders in general or to specific types of ladders, such as step or extension ladders. (See the chart at the bottom of the post for the general portable ladder requirements in each province and territory.) But although there are some differences, these requirements are generally very similar and typically cover the following key areas:

Construction of Ladder

The OHS regulations generally include requirements for how ladders must be constructed to ensure that they’re safe for workers to use. Those requirements typically vary depending on what the ladder is made of (such as wood v. metal) and whether the ladder is:

Commercially manufactured. In most cases, workers use ladders made by ladder manufacturers and purchased by the employer for use in the workplace. The OHS regulations typically require commercially made ladders to comply with various voluntary standards, such as:

  • CSA Standard CAN3-Z11-M81, Portable Ladders;
  • ANSI Standard A14.1‐2007,  American National Standard for Ladders—Wood—Safety Requirements;
  • ANSI Standard A14.2‐2007,  American National Standard for Ladders—Portable Metal—Safety Requirements; or
  • ANSI Standard A14.5‐2007,  American National Standard for Ladders—Portable Reinforced Plastic—Safety Requirements.

Insider Says: You can get free access to CSA standards such as the above that have been incorporated into the OHS laws at http://ohsviewaccess.csa.ca/.

Made on site. In some workplaces—most notably construction sites—workers may build their own ladders. The OHS regulations usually have very detailed requirements for how ladders made on site are constructed. For example, they may specify the grade and types of wood that may be used, such as spruce or fir, and require that lumber to be free of knot holes or other defects. These construction requirements usually cover the dimensions of and other details for:

  • Side rails;
  • Centre structural rails;
  • Rungs;
  • Cleats;
  • Length of ladder; and
  • For extension ladders, overlap.

In addition, you generally can’t paint wooden portable ladders, except to cover them in a transparent protective coating.

Ladder Maintenance & Inspections
Ensuring that ladders are properly constructed is the first step in protecting workers while using them. But if you don’t maintain ladders, they can create safety hazards and endanger workers. So the OHS regulations often include maintenance requirements. For example, ladders should be clean and free of grease, oil or other slippery substances that could cause a worker to fall off of them.

And to ensure that portable ladders stay safe for workers to use, some jurisdictions require ladders to be inspected, either by a worker or a “competent person,” for any defects or problems, such as loose, broken or missing rungs or split side rails, before they’re used. And if a ladder inspection reveals any defects, you should remove it from service.

Insider Says: For more information on who qualifies as a “competent person,” see “Compliance 101: What Makes a Worker a ‘Competent Person’ under OHS Laws?” Sept. 2008, p. 11.

INSPECTION FORM: Go to the Insider’s online partner site, www.OHSInsider.com, to download a form that workers can use to inspect ladders before using them.

Positioning of Ladder

A key element of safe ladder use is the proper positioning of ladders, particularly extension ladders. So it’s no surprise that the OHS regulations often specify exactly how ladders must be positioned, especially when they’re not fastened in place. For example, a ladder should be placed on a base that’s firm, level and stable. And metal ladders shouldn’t be used in areas where there’s a risk that they could come into contact with live electrical wires or equipment. In addition, when a ladder is leaned against a wall or other structure, the rule of thumb is to maintain a 1:4 ratio. That is, the base of the ladder must be no further from the base of the wall or structure than one‐quarter of the ladder’s length. Put another way, place the base of the ladder one foot away from the wall or structure it’s leaning against for every four feet of height to the point where the ladder touches the wall or structure at the top.

General Safe Use of Ladders

In general, the OHS regulations explain how portable ladders should be used and exactly what workers can—and can’t—do on them. For example, ladders should be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. See the sidebar for 14 dos and don’ts of safe portable ladder use.

Insider Says: For videos, safety talks and other training tools to ensure workers use portable ladders properly, go to SafetySmart’s Ladder Safety section. Not a Safety Smart member? Sign up for a free 14-day trial.

Use of Fall Protection

Some OHS regulations require workers using portable ladders to wear fall protection if they could fall a certain distance. For example, the federal OHS regulations require employers to provide a fall-protection system to any person who works from a ladder at a height of more than 2.4 m above the nearest permanent safe level if, because of the nature of the work, that person is unable to use at least one hand to hold onto the ladder. But the regulations generally permit workers to work from a ladder without fall protection if:

  • The work is a light duty task of short duration, such as touch-up painting or inspecting a gutter;
  • The worker’s centre of gravity is maintained between the ladder’s side rails;
  • The worker is generally able to maintain three-point contact with the ladder; and
  • The ladder isn’t positioned near an edge or floor opening that would significantly increase the potential fall distance.

BOTTOM LINE

Portable ladders are so ubiquitous and easy to use that workers may simply take them for granted. And ladders can enable workers to safely access areas to which they couldn’t otherwise get. But if ladders aren’t properly constructed, maintained or used, they could instead put workers at risk. So it’s critical that you ensure that all portable ladders in your workplace comply with the OHS regulations.

KNOW THE LAWS OF YOUR PROVINCE

Here are the general portable ladder requirements in the OHS law in your jurisdiction:

 

 

RELEVANT LAWS

FED

1) Commercially manufactured portable ladders must meet the standards set out in CSA Standard CAN3-Z11-M81, Portable Ladders [Sec.3.11(1)].

2) Subject to the below, every portable ladder must, while being used:

  a) be placed on a firm footing; and

  b) be secured in such a manner that it can’t be dislodged accidentally from its position [Sec. 3.11(2)].

3) Where, because of the nature of the location or of the work being done, a portable ladder can’t be securely fastened in place, it must, while being used, be sloped so that the base of the ladder is no less than one-quarter and no more than one-third of the length of the ladder from a point directly below the top of the ladder and at the same level as the base [Sec. 3.11(3)].

4) Every portable ladder that provides access from one level to another must extend at least three rungs above the higher level [Sec. 3.11(4)].

5) Metal or wire-bound portable ladders must not be used where there’s a hazard that they may come into contact with any live electrical circuit or equipment [Sec. 3.11(5)].

6) No worker may work from any of the three top rungs of any single or extension portable ladder or from either of the two top steps of any portable step ladder [Sec. 3.11(6)].

Canada OHS Regs.

AB

1) A worker must not perform work from either of the top two rungs, steps

or cleats of a portable ladder unless the manufacturer’s specifications allow the

worker to do so [Sec. 133(1)].

2) Despite the above, a worker may work from either of the top two rungs, steps or treads of a stepladder if:

  a) the stepladder has a railed platform at the top; or

  b) the manufacturer’s specifications for the stepladder permit it [Sec. 133(2)].

3) Sec. 134(1) spells out the construction requirements for portable ladders built on site.

4) Sec. 134(2) contains the construction requirements for twoway constructed portable ladders built on site.

5) An employer must ensure that a portable ladder manufactured on or after

July1, 2009 meets the requirements of:

  a) CSA Standard CAN3Z11M81 (R2005), Portable Ladders;

  b) ANSI Standard A14.12007, American National Standard for Ladders —

Wood — Safety Requirements;

  c) ANSI Standard A14.22007, American National Standard for Ladders —

Portable Metal — Safety Requirements; or

  d) ANSI Standard A14.52007, American National Standard for Ladders —

Portable Reinforced Plastic — Safety Requirements [Sec. 135].

6) A worker must ensure that:

  a) a portable ladder is secured against movement and placed on a base that’s stable;

  b) the base of an inclined portable ladder is no further from the base of the wall or structure than onequarter of the distance between the base of the ladder and the place where the ladder contacts the wall; and

  c) the side rails of a portable ladder extend at least 1 m above a platform, landing or parapet if the ladder is used as a means of access to the platform, landing or parapet [Sec. 136].

OHS Code 2009

BC

1) A manufactured portable ladder must be marked for the grade of material used to construct the ladder and the use for which the ladder is constructed [Sec. 13.4].

2) A ladder must:

  a) be placed on a firm and level base;

  b) be positioned so that the horizontal distance from the base to vertical plane of support is approximately 1/4 of the ladder length;

  c) have sufficient length to project approximately 1 m (3 ft) above the upper landing to which it provides access; and

  d) if necessary, be secured to ensure stability during use [Sec. 13.5].

3) If work can’t be done from a ladder without hazard to a worker, a work platform must be provided. [Sec. 13.6(1)].

4) A worker may not carry up or down a ladder, heavy or bulky objects or any other objects which may make ascent or descent unsafe [Sec. 13.6(2)].

OHS Regs.

MB

1) An employer must ensure that a commercially manufactured portable ladder used at a workplace:

  a) complies with the applicable requirements of the following standards:

    i) CSA Standard CAN3-Z11-M81 (R2005), Portable Ladders;

    ii) ANSI Standard A14.1-2000, American National Standard for Ladders — Wood —Safety Requirements;

    iii) ANSI Standard A14.2-2000, American National Standard for Ladders — Portable Metal — Safety Requirements; or

    iv) ANSI Standard A14.5-2000, American National Standard for Ladders — Portable Reinforced Plastic — Safety Requirements; and

  b) is used and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications and safe operating instructions [Sec. 13.11].

2) Sec. 13.12 spells out the construction requirements for portable wood ladders fabricated on the worksite.

3) Sec. 13.13 contains the construction requirements for portable double width wood ladders fabricated on the worksite.

4) Sec. 13.14 has the construction requirements for extension ladders.

6) An employer must ensure that no single portable ladder and no section of an extension ladder exceeds 9 m in length [Sec. 13.15].

7) When in use at a workplace, an employer must ensure that a portable ladder is secured against movement at all times during use and is placed on a stable, level base [Sec. 13.16(1)].

8) Without limiting the above, an employer must ensure that:

  a) where a portable ladder is used as a means of access to a platform, roof or other landing, it extends at least 1 m above the platform, roof or other landing; and

  b) for a portable ladder other than a stepladder, it’s placed against a structure so that the slope of the ladder is no more than 1:4 [Sec. 13.16(2)].

9) An employer must ensure that a stepladder:

  a) is no more than 6 m high when set for use; and

  b) has legs that are securely held in position by metal braces or an equivalent rigid support [Sec. 13.17].

10) An employer must ensure that a worker using:

  a) a stepladder or other commercially manufactured portable ladder does so in

accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications and safe operating instructions;

and

  b) a portable ladder other than a stepladder:

    i) doesn’t extend any part of his or her body, except his or her arms, beyond the side rails of the ladder; and

    ii) maintains a three-point contact on the ladder at all times [Sec. 13.18].

11) An employer must ensure that a worker doesn’t perform work from either of the top two rungs, steps or cleats of:

  a) a portable ladder other than a stepladder unless the manufacturer’s specifications for the ladder permit it; or

  b) a stepladder, unless:

    i) it has a railed platform at the top; or

    ii) the manufacturer’s specifications for the stepladder permit it [Sec. 13.19].

Workplace Safety & Health Regs.

NB

1) An employer must ensure that a portable ladder used at a place of employment is:

  a) of adequate strength and length;

  b) clean and free of grease; and

  c) maintained in a safe condition [Sec. 122(1)].

2) An employer must ensure that a portable ladder is removed from service when it has loose, broken or missing rungs, split side rails or other defects that may be hazardous to a worker’s safety [Sec. 122(2)].

3) Sec. 123 spells out the construction requirements for wooden portable ladders.

4) An employer must ensure that a portable ladder complies with and is used in accordance with CSA standard CAN 3-Z11-M81, Portable Ladders [Sec. 124(1)].

5) Sec. 124(2) contains the construction requirements for portable extension ladders.

6) A worker who uses a portable ladder must:

  a) inspect the ladder before use;

  b) report any unsafe condition of the ladder to the employer;

  c) face the ladder and use both hands when climbing or descending; and

  d) when standing on a ladder, stand in the centre between the side rails [Sec. 125(1)].

7) A worker who uses a portable ladder must ensure that:

  a) the ladder is secured against movement;

  b) the side rails of the ladder extend at least 1 m above any platform or landing to which the ladder is a means of access; and

  c) if a step ladder, the legs are securely held in position by means of metal braces or an equivalent rigid support [Sec. 125(2)].

8) A worker who uses a portable ladder must not:

  a) splice ladders together unless the spliced section is braced so that the spliced side rails are as strong as the original side rails;

  b) place a ladder in front of or against a door unless the door is blocked in the open position, locked or guarded;

  c) use a ladder as scaffold flooring or as support for scaffold flooring;

  d) stand on the material shelf, the top or the top step of a portable step ladder; or

  e) work from the top three rungs of a portable single or extension ladder [Sec. 125(3)].

9) If a worker’s using a portable ladder and working close to an energized electrical utility line or utility line equipment, the employer and worker must each comply with the appropriate provisions of Part XIX (Electrical Safety) [Sec. 126].

OHS Regs.

NL

1) Except as otherwise permitted, portable ladder design, construction and use must meet the requirements of:

  a) CSA Standard CAN3-Z11, Portable Ladders;

  b) ANSIStandard A14.1-1990, Safety Requirements for Portable Wood Ladders;

  c) ANSIStandard A14.2-1990, Safety Requirements for Portable Metal Ladders; or

  d) other standard acceptable to the minister [Sec. 148(1)].

2) A manufactured portable ladder must be:

  a) marked for grade and use; and

  b) used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions [Sec. 148(2)].

3) Sec. 149 contains the construction requirements for portable wooden ladders built at the job site.

4) A protective coating applied to a wooden ladder, other than a small amount for identification purposes, must be transparent to allow defects to be discovered by inspection [Sec. 150].  

5) Portable ladders must be inspected before use, and ladders with loose, broken or missing rungs, split side rails or other hazardous defects must be removed from service [Sec. 151].

6) Where a portable single or extension ladder is in use:

  a) the ladder must be placed so that the horizontal distance from the base to the vertical plane of support is approximately one-quarter of the ladder length between supports; and

  b) the lower ends of the ladder side rails shall rest on a firm and level base and the upper support of the side rails shall be rested on a bearing surface strong enough to safely withstand the applied load [Sec. 152].

7) A ladder must be of sufficient length to project approximately one metre above the level of the upper landing to which it provides access, except where there is limited clearance and the ladder is adequately secured [Sec. 153].

8) Except as otherwise permitted by a manufacturer, a worker may not work from either the top 2 rungs of a portable single or extension ladder or the top 2 steps of a stepladder [Sec. 154(1)].

9) A ladder must not be used as a scaffold component or as a horizontal walkway, ramp or work platform support except where the ladder is part of a pre-manufactured or engineered system [Sec. 154(2)].

10) A worker shall maintain 3 points of contact when using a ladder [Sec. 154(3)].

OHS Regs.

NT/

NU

1) A ladder must be designed, constructed and installed to meet the requirements of:

  a) the Canadian Standards Association, for portable ladders;

  b) the American National Standards Institute, for fixed ladders; or

  c) other standards that are acceptable to the Chief Safety Officer [Sec. 246].

2) Sec. 247(1) contains the construction requirements for portable wooden ladders built on a job site.

3) Ladder components must be cut from lumber that meets the following requirements:

  a) dependent on their dimensions, components must be of construction

grade, or No. 1 structural grade or better;

  b) species are limited to douglas fir-larch, hem-fir, spruce-pine-fir or coast sitka

spruce;

  c) lumber must be graded according to the National Lumber Grades Authority Rules or other approved grading rules and lumber shall be grade stamped by an

approved agency [Sec. 247(2)].

4) If protective coatings are applied to wooden ladders, only transparent coatings or preservatives may be used [Sec. 248].

5) Portable ladders must be inspected before use and no ladder with loose, broken or missing rungs, split side rails or other hazard-producing defects may be used [Sec. 249].

6) When in use, a portable single or extension ladder must be so placed that the horizontal distance from its base to its vertical plane of support is about ¼

of the ladder length between supports [Sec. 250].

7) The lower ends of ladder side rails must rest on a firm and level base [Sec. 251(1)].

8) The upper part of the side rails must rest on a bearing surface of ample strength to support the applied load [Sec. 251(2)].

9) A ladder must be of sufficient length to project approximately 91.44 cm (3 ft.) above the level of the upper landing to which it provides access [Sec. 252].

10) A portable single or extension ladder must be equipped with a non-slip base or shall be held, tied or otherwise secured to prevent slipping [Sec. 253].

11) No person may work from the top two rungs of a single or extension ladder or the top two steps of a step-ladder [Sec. 254].

12) No person may use a metal ladder or wire reinforced wooden ladder near energized electrical equipment [Sec. 255].

13) Sec. 256 has the length requirements for standard ladders.

14) An extension ladder must be overlapped a designated minimum distance depending on its length [Sec. 257].

General Safety Reg.

NS

1) An employer must ensure that a portable ladder used at a workplace is:

  a) able to withstand 4 times the maximum load likely to be imposed;

  b) clean and free of grease, oil or other substances that may cause slipping;

  c) maintained in a safe condition;

  d) inspected by a competent person before each use to ensure all components are in an adequate condition and the ladder is safe to use; and

  e) not used if an inspection identifies an inadequate condition with the ladder [Sec. 148(1)].

2) An employer must ensure that a person using a portable ladder:

  a) faces the ladder when climbing or descending;

  b) when more than 1 m above a safe surface, maintains adequate contact with the ladder, such as 3-point contact;

  c) where the person is standing on a ladder, stands in the centre between the side rails;

  d) where the ladder is a step ladder, doesn’t stand on the material shelf, the top or the top step of the ladder; and

  e) where the ladder isn’t a step ladder, doesn’t work from the top three rungs of the ladder [Sec. 148(2)].

3) An employer must remove a ladder from service when it has loose, broken or missing rungs, split side rails or other defects that may be hazardous to the safety of a person at the workplace [Sec. 148(3)].

4) Sec. 149(1) spells out the construction requirements for wooden portable ladders that aren’t commercially manufactured.

5) An employer must ensure that a ladder doesn’t sway or sag in an unsafe manner [Sec. 149(2)].

6) An employer must ensure that a portable ladder that’s commercially manufactured is designed and manufactured in accordance with CSA standard CAN3-Z11-M81, Portable Ladders [Sec. 150(1)].

7) Despite the above, an employer must ensure that Grade 3 portable ladders, as described in any edition of CSA standard CAN3-Z11, Portable Ladders, aren’t used at a workplace [Sec. 150(2)].

8) An employer must ensure that a commercially manufactured portable ladder:

  a) where it’s an extension ladder, maintains an adequate overlap between the sections of the ladder;

  b) has locks engaged before the extension ladder is climbed; and

  c) where there’s a risk of contact with live electrical conductors, is non-conductive [Sec. 150(3)].

9) An employer must ensure that when a portable ladder is used:

  a) it’s placed on a firm footing;

  b) it’s secured in an adequate manner against movement as soon as reasonably practicable;

  c) as a means of access or exit, it:

    i) has side rails that extend at least 1 m above any platform or landing; and

    ii) has a clearance of at least 150 mm between it and the supporting structure, except in the area where the ladder is supported against the structure; and

  d) as a step ladder, it has legs securely held in position by means of metal braces or an equivalent rigid support [Sec. 151(1)].

10) An employer must ensure that, when a portable ladder is used, it isn’t:

  a) spliced together with another ladder unless the spliced section is braced so that the spliced side rails are as strong as the original side rails;

  b) placed in front of or against a door that can be opened towards the ladder unless the door is blocked in the open position, locked or guarded;

  c) used as a scaffold, ramp, or as a support for such flooring;

  d) placed on a box, barrel, scaffold, or other unstable base;

  e) lashed to another ladder to increase its length; or

  f) located in an elevator shaft or hoistway when such space is being used for hoisting [Sec. 151(2)].

11) Where a portable ladder is used as a means of access or exit for a height greater than 6 m and for 7 or more persons, an employer must provide 2 separate lines of ladders [Sec. 152].

OHS General Reg.

ON

Industrial Establishments Reg.:

1) A portable ladder must:

  a) be free from broken or loose members or other faults;

  b) have non-slip feet;

  c) be placed on a firm footing;

  d) where it exceeds six metres in length and isn’t securely fastened, or is likely to be endangered by traffic, be held in place by one or more workers while being used; and

  e) when not securely fastened, be inclined so that the horizontal distance from the top support to the foot of the ladder is no less than 1/4 and no more than 1/3 of the length of the ladder [Sec. 73].

Construction Projects Reg.:

1) A ladder must be designed, constructed and maintained so as not to endanger a worker and be capable of withstanding all loads to which it may be subjected [Sec. 78(1)].

2) A ladder must:

  a) be free from defective or loose rungs;

  b) have rungs spaced at 300 mm on centres;

  c) have side rails at least 300 mm apart;

  d) be placed on a firm footing; and

  e) be situated so that its base isn’t less than one-quarter and no more than one-third, of the length of the ladder from a point directly below the top of the ladder and at the same level as the base of the ladder, if the ladder isn’t securely fastened [Sec. 78(2)].

3) Sec. 78(3) spells out the maximum length of various kinds of portable ladders.

4) No ladder may be lashed to another ladder to increase its length [Sec. 78(4)].

5) A ladder used as a regular means of access between levels of a structure must:

  a) extend at the upper level at least 900 mm above the landing or floor;

  b) have a clear space of at least 150 mm behind every rung;

  c) be located so that an adequate landing surface that’s clear of obstructions is available at the top and bottom of the ladder; and

  d) be secured at the top and bottom to prevent movement [Sec. 80].

6) Sec. 81 spells out the construction requirements for wooden ladders.

7) Sec. 82 contains the construction requirements for double-width wooden ladders.

8) When a step-ladder is being used as a self-supporting unit, its legs must be fully-spread and its spreader must be locked [Sec. 83(1)].

9) No worker may stand on the top of or the pail shelf of a step-ladder [Sec. 83(2)].

10) Ladders capable of conducting electricity may not be stored or used so close to energized electrical equipment, installations or conductors that they can make electrical contact [Sec. 187].

 

PE

1) The employer must provide a ladder where workers must work in an elevated or sub-level area not provided with other safe and recognizable means of access or egress [Sec. 23.1(1)].

2) The employer must ensure that a ladder is removed from service when it has loose, broken or missing rungs, split side rails or other hazardous defects [Sec. 23.1(2)].

3) The employer must ensure that:

  a) all portable ladders shall be equipped with non-slip bases;

  b) portable metal or wire truss ladders aren’t used in the vicinity of electrical circuits or apparatus when the hazard of electrical exposure is present;

  c) benches, boxes, tables or other makeshift substitutes aren’t used as ladders [Sec. 23.1(3)].

4) The user of a ladder must ensure that:

  a) the base of an inclined portable ladder isn’t more than one-fourth the length of the ladder out from the vertical line of contact at the top unless the top is securely fastened;

  b) side rails of ladders when in use have secure footing and the top rest shall be rigid and have ample strength to support the applied load;

  c) if possible, the top of the ladder is securely fastened to prevent movement;

  d) the side rails of a portable ladder extend at least 914 mm (3 ft.) above a landing;

  e) side rails have a uniform clear width between them no less than 305 mm (12 in.) for ladders 3 048 mm (10 ft.) in length and under, and increasing 6 mm (in.) in width for each additional 300 mm (1 ft.) in length [Sec. 23.2].

5) The user of a ladder must:

  a) inspect a ladder before use;

  b) report any unsafe condition of the ladder to the employer;

  c) not work from the top three rungs of a single or extension ladder;

  d) not lash or splice ladders together;

  e) not place a ladder in front of or against a door unless the door’s blocked in the open position, locked or guarded;

  f) use both hands and face the ladder when ascending or descending; and

  g) when standing on a ladder, keep the centre of his body between the side rails [Sec. 23.3].

6) Sec. 23.4 spells out the construction requirements for wooden ladders.

7) Sec. 23.5 spells out the construction requirements for step ladders.

8) Sec. 23.8(1) spells out the construction requirements for extension ladders.

OHS Regs.

QC

1) Any portable ladder and any stepladder used on a worksite must comply with CAN3-Z11-M81, Portable Ladders. But portable ladders and stepladders in use on Aug. 2, 2001 may also be used if they’re in good condition and comply with ACNOR Z11-1969, Portable Ladders [Sec. 25].

2) Portable ladders must:

  a) rest on a firm base with the upper part propped on the 2 side rails;

  b) be firmly held in place by one or more persons, if they’re not firmly attached and if their length is equal to or more than 9 m; 

  c) be protected against any sliding and against any shock that could compromise equilibrium;

  d) if not firmly fixed, be so inclined that the horizontal distance between the base of the ladder and the vertical plane of its top support is about between the quarter and the third of the length of the ladder between its supports;

  e) where used as a means of access:

    i) be firmly fixed in place;

    ii) extend 900 mm beyond the top storey; and

    iii) have a space behind the rungs of at least 150 mm;

  f) be set in such a manner that there’s sufficient space at the base allowing safe access;

  g) never be used as a horizontal prop;

  h) never be linked to another ladder, end to end, by lapped joints;

  i) when used close to electrical conductors, be made of wood or other insulating material;

  j) have a sufficient length so the worker does not work from the 2 top rungs; and

  k) not be put on scaffolding, an elevated platform, an aerial basket or platform, on crates, barrels or in front of a door opening onto the ladder [Sec. 26].

3) The length of a portable extension ladder with 2 or more extensions, measured along the side rails, can’t exceed 15 m [Sec. 27].

4) Any stepladder used on a worksite must:

  a) when used close to electrical conductors, be made of wood or other insulating material; and

  b) have the legs fully spread and the retaining device locked [Sec. 28].

5) The top and the pail shelf of a stepladder shall never be used as a step [Sec. 29].

6) A worker must always be turned facing the ladder or stepladder while climbing or descending [Sec. 30].

Reg. respecting occupational health and safety

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1) An employer, contractor or supplier must ensure that every ladder’s designed, constructed, used and maintained to perform its function safely [Sec. 252(1)].

2) An employer, contractor or supplier must ensure that:

  a) no wooden ladder or stepladder is painted with any substance other than

a transparent coating; and

  b) no ladder is made by fastening cleats across a single rail or post [Sec. 252(2)].

3) An employer or contractor must ensure that:

  a) a portable ladder is equipped with non-slip feet;

  b) a portable ladder is secured against accidental movement during use;

  c) a metal or wire-bound portable ladder isn’t used where the ladder or a

worker handling or using the ladder may come into contact with an exposed

energized electrical conductor; and

  d) a portable ladder extends at least one metre above any platform, roof or

other landing to which the ladder is used as a means of access [Sec. 253(2)].

4) An employer or contractor must ensure that each worker who handles or uses a

portable ladder is instructed in these requirements [Sec. 253(3)].

5) An employer or contractor must ensure that a stepladder:

  a) is no more than six metres high when set for use;

  b) has legs that are securely held in position by means of metal braces or an

equivalent rigid support; and

  c) when in use, has a front section slope at an angle of one horizontal to six

vertical [Sec. 253(4)].

6) Sec. 253(5) has the construction requirements for extension ladders.

7) An employer or contractor must ensure that no single portable ladder and no

section of an extension ladder exceeds nine metres in length [Sec. 253(6)].

8) Where a worker uses a portable ladder other than a stepladder, an employer or contractor must ensure that:

  a) the ladder is placed against the structure so that the slope of the ladder is

one horizontal to four vertical;

  b) the worker doesn’t extend any part of his body except for his arms beyond the side rails of the ladder; and

  c) the worker maintains a 3-point stance on the ladder at all times [Sec. 254(1)].

9) An employer or contractor must ensure that a worker doesn’t work from either of the top two rungs or steps of a portable ladder, unless the ladder’s a stepladder that has a platform equipped with a suitable handrail [Sec. 254(2)].

10) Sec. 256 spells out the construction requirements for ladders built at the worksite.

OHS Regs.

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1) Any ladder must be:

  a) of adequate strength and length for the work being done;

  b) clean and free from grease, oil or other slippery substance;

  c) maintained in safe condition; and

  d) removed from service or repaired immediately when it has loose, broken or missing rungs, split side rails or other defects that may be hazardous to a worker [Sec. 10.21].

2) The design, construction and use of portable ladders must meet the requirements of:

  a) CSA Standard Z11-M81, Portable Ladders;

  b) ANSI Standard A14.1-2000, Safety Requirements for Ladders – Portable Wood;

  c) ANSI Standard A14.2-2000, Safety Requirements for Portable Metal Ladders; or

  d) other similar standards acceptable to the director [Sec. 10.25(1)].

3) Manufactured portable ladders must be marked for grade and use and used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions [Sec. 10.25(2)].

4) Sec. 10.26 spells out the maximum lengths for various portable ladders.

5) Sec. 10.27 has the construction requirements for portable wooden ladders.

6) Sec. 10.28 contains the construction requirements for portable extension ladders.

7) A worker who uses a portable ladder must ensure that:

  a) the ladder is appropriate for the task being performed;

  b) the ladder is inspected before use;

  c) any unsafe condition of the ladder is reported to the employer;

  d) the ladder is faced and both hands used when climbing or descending;

  e) when standing on a ladder, he or she stands in the centre between the side rails;

  f) the side rails of the ladder extend at least 1 m (3 ft.) above any platform or landing to which the ladder is a means of access;

  g) where extended to a height of more than 3 m (10 ft.), it’s effectively secured or held in place by another worker;

  h) if it’s a stepladder, the legs are securely held in position by means of metal braces or an equivalent rigid support;

  i) a stepladder is used only when the front section has a maximum pitch of one in six in the open position;

  j) when used as a self supporting unit, the legs of a stepladder are fully spread and the spreader is locked;

  k) he or she doesn’t work or stand on the top:

    i) two rungs of a stepladder, except in cases where the stepladder is equipped with a railed platform; and

    ii) three rungs of a portable single or extension ladder;

  l) ladders aren’t spliced together unless the spliced section is braced so that the spliced side rails are as strong as the original side rails;

  m) a ladder isn’t placed in front of or against a door unless the door is blocked in the open position, locked or guarded;

  n) a ladder isn’t used as scaffold flooring or as support for scaffold flooring;

  o) ladders made of metal or electrically conductive material aren’t used when working within 3 m (10 ft.) of energized electrical lines; and

  p) if the ladder isn’t securely fastened, it’s placed so that the base of the ladder isn’t less than one-quarter and no more than one-third of the length of the ladder from a point directly below the top of the ladder and at the same level as the base of the ladder [Sec. 10.29].

OHS Regs.