Occupational Health and Safety Code
The Occupational Health and Safety Code provides specific technical health and safety rules and requirements for Alberta workplaces.
Part 22 Safeguards
An employer must provide safeguards if a worker may accidentally, or through the work process, come into contact with
(a) moving parts of machinery or equipment,
(b) points of machinery or equipment at which material is cut, shaped or bored,
(c) surfaces with temperatures that may cause skin to freeze, burn or blister,
(d) energized electrical cables,
(e) debris, material or objects thrown from machinery or equipment,
(f) material being fed into or removed from process machinery or equipment,
(g) machinery or equipment that may be hazardous due to its operation, or
(h) any other hazard.
Subsection (2) does not apply to machinery that already has a safeguard that
(a) automatically stops the machinery if a worker comes into contact with a moving part or a point at which material is cut, shaped or bored,
(b) prevents a worker from coming into contact with a hazard referred to in subsection (2), or
(c) eliminates the hazards referred to in subsection (2) before a worker can be injured.
If an employer determines that an effective safeguard cannot be provided in the circumstances, the employer must ensure that an alternative mechanism or system or a change in work procedure is put into place to protect workers from being exposed to hazards that exist if there is no safeguard.
An alternative mechanism or system or a change in work procedure put into place under subsection (4) must offer protection to workers that is equal to or greater than the protection from a safeguard referred to in subsection (3).
An employer must place warning signs on machinery that starts automatically
(a) on a clearly visible location at a point of access to the machinery, and
(b) that give clear instructions to workers on the nature of the hazard.
Tampering with safeguards
A person must not remove a safeguard from a machine that is operating if the safeguard is not designed to be removed when the machine is operating.
A person must not remove a safeguard or make it ineffective unless removing it or making it ineffective is necessary to perform maintenance, tests, repairs, adjustments or other tasks on equipment.
If a worker removes a safeguard or makes it ineffective, the worker must ensure that
(a) alternative protective measures are in place until the safeguard is replaced,
(b) the safeguard is replaced immediately after the task is completed, and
(c) the safeguard functions properly once replaced.
If a safeguard for machinery is removed or made ineffective and the machinery cannot be directly controlled by a worker, the worker who removes the safeguard or makes it ineffective must lock out or lock out and tag the machinery or render it inoperative.
Despite other sections in this Part, an employer may allow the machinery to be operated without the safeguards if
(a) safeguards are normally required by this Code for machinery, and
(b) the machinery cannot accommodate or operate with these safeguards.
If machinery in subsection (1) is operated without safeguards, the employer must ensure workers operating or in the vicinity of the machine wear personal protective equipment that
(a) is appropriate to the hazard, and
(b) offers protection equal to or greater than that offered by the safeguards.
An employer must ensure that if a work platform is necessary to ensure the safety of workers in a building shaft, there is
(a) a main work platform that is completely decked and designed to support any anticipated load, and
(b) a 2nd platform not more than 4 metres below the main work platform.
An employer must ensure that if there is no work platform at a doorway or opening to a building shaft,
(a) the doorway or opening is enclosed,
(b) the enclosure is not less than 2 metres high, and
(c) there is an access door opening out from the enclosed area.
An employer must ensure that, while a building shaft is being constructed, at least one warning sign indicating the presence of an open building shaft is placed at each point of entry to the shaft.
An employer must ensure that an opening or hole through which a worker can fall is protected by
(a) a securely attached cover designed to support an anticipated load, or
(b) guardrails and toe boards.
If a person removes a cover, guardrail or toe board, or any part thereof, protecting an opening or hole for any reason, an employer must ensure a temporary cover or other means of protection replaces it immediately.
If a temporary cover is used to protect an opening or hole, an employer must ensure a warning sign or marking clearly indicating the nature of the hazard
(a) is posted near or fixed on the cover, and
(b) is not removed unless another effective means of protection is immediately provided.
An employer must ensure that a guardrail required by this Code
(a) has a horizontal top member installed between 920 millimetres and 1070 millimetres above the base of the guardrail,
(b) has a horizontal, intermediate member spaced mid‑way between the top member and the base,
(c) has vertical members at both ends of the horizontal members with intermediate vertical supports that are not more than 3 metres apart at their centres, and
(d) is constructed of lumber that is 38 millimetres by 89 millimetres or of material with properties the same as or better than those of lumber.
Despite subsection (1), a temporary guardrail does not require a horizontal intermediate member if it has a substantial barrier positioned within the space bounded by the horizontal top member, toe board and vertical members that prevents a worker from falling through the space.
An employer must ensure that a guardrail is secured so that it cannot move in any direction if it is struck or if any point on it comes into contact with a worker, materials or equipment.
Hoppers, bins and chutes
If a worker can access materials in hoppers, bins or chutes, an employer must ensure the hoppers, bins or chutes have horizontal bars, screens or equally effective safeguards that prevent a worker from falling into the hoppers, bins or chutes.
If a worker may be injured if a machine fails, an employer must install safeguards on the machine strong enough to contain or deflect flying particles of material, broken parts of machinery and a shock wave.
Protection from falling objects
An employer must ensure that workers in a work area where there may be falling objects are protected from the falling objects by an overhead safeguard.
An employer must ensure that a safeguard used under subsection (1) is designed to withstand the shock loads from objects that may fall onto it.
Despite subsection (1), if the danger from falling objects is in a location in a work site where workers go intermittently or incidentally to their regular duties, an employer may place appropriate and adequate warning signs, horns, flashing lights or similar devices at the location to warn workers of the hazard.
An employer must ensure that a safeguard used on a hoist or scaffold under subsection (1)
(a) is made of wire mesh or an enclosure material that is equally or more efficient at containing equipment and materials,
(b) is not less than 1 metre high from the floor, platform or working level of the safeguard, and
(c) encloses all sides of a cantilever hoist platform or skip, except the side adjacent to the building.
If the material being hoisted or lowered is of a kind that prevents the sides of a cantilever hoist platform or skip from being enclosed as required by subsection (4), an employer must provide another effective alternative safeguard against falling materials for the workers.
An employer must ensure that a safeguard around the surface opening of an underground shaft serving a tunnel
(a) is made of wire mesh or an enclosure material that is equally or more effective at containing equipment and materials, and
(b) is not less than 1 metre high from the surface.
An employer must ensure that a safeguard is installed on all sides of
(a) the cage of a building shaft hoist or a tower hoist, or
(b) a hoist cage in an underground shaft serving a tunnel.
An employer must ensure that a safeguard used on a cage under subsection (7) is made of
(a) wire mesh, or
(b) an enclosure material that is equally or more effective at containing equipment and materials and at protecting workers from hazards associated with the movement of a cage in a shaft.
Push stick or block
If a worker may be injured while feeding materials into cutting or shaping machinery, an employer must ensure the machine worker uses a push stick, push block or other similar means of feeding the material.
An employer must ensure that a safety net
(a) meets the requirements of ANSI Standard A10.11‑1989 (R1998), Construction and Demolition Operations — Personnel and Debris Nets,
(b) has safety hooks or shackles of drawn, rolled or forged steel with an ultimate tensile strength of not less than 22.2 kilonewtons,
(c) has joints between net panels capable of developing the full strength of the web,
(d) extends not less than 2.4 metres beyond the work area,
(e) extends not more than 6 metres below the work area, and
(f) is installed and maintained so that the maximum deflection under impact load does not allow any part of the net to touch another surface.
An employer must ensure that the supporting structure to which a personnel safety net is attached is certified by a professional engineer as being capable of withstanding any load the net is likely to impose on the structure.
Subsection (1) does not apply to properly maintained rescue nets used by firefighters and other emergency services personnel.
An employer must ensure that
(a) a toe board required by this Code is not less than 140 millimetres in height above the surface of the work area, and
(b) the space between the bottom of the toe board and the surface of the work area is not more than 6 millimetres high.
An employer must ensure that toe boards are installed at the outer edge above the work area if a worker may be under a permanent floor, platform, mezzanine, walkway, ramp, runway or other permanent surface where
(a) guardrails are installed, or
(b) materials can fall more than 1.8 metres.
An employer must ensure that toe boards are installed at the outer edge above the work area of temporary scaffolding or a temporary work platform if materials can fall more than 3.5 metres.
An employer must ensure that toe boards are installed around the top of a pit containing a machine with exposed rotating parts if workers may be working in the pit.
Subsection (1) does not apply to
(a) the entrance of a loading or unloading area if the employer takes other precautions to ensure that materials do not fall from the permanent surface, or
(b) the entrance to a ladder.
An employer must ensure that wire mesh used in a safeguard required by this Code is
(a) fabricated of wire at least 1.6 millimetres in diameter, and
(b) spaced to reject a ball 40 millimetres in diameter.