Occupational Health and Safety Code
The Occupational Health and Safety Code provides specific technical health and safety rules and requirements for Alberta workplaces.
Part 8 Entrances, Walkways, Stairways and Ladders
Entrances, Walkways, Stairways
Ladders — General
Crawl Board or Roof Ladder
Safe entry and exit
An employer must ensure that every worker can enter a work area safely and leave a work area safely at all times.
An employer must ensure that a work area’s entrances and exits are in good working order.
An employer must ensure that a work area’s entrances and exits are free from materials, equipment, accumulations of waste or other obstructions that might endanger workers or restrict their movement.
An employer must ensure that, if a worker could be isolated from a primary escape route,
(a) there is a ready, convenient and safe secondary means of escape from the work area, and
(b) the secondary escape route is readily useable at all times.
An employer must ensure that all workers are familiar with escape routes from the work area.
An employer must ensure that doors to and from a work area can be opened without substantial effort and are not obstructed.
An employer must ensure that a door used to enter or leave an enclosed area that poses a hazard to workers entering the area
(a) is kept in good working order, and
(b) has a means of opening it from the inside at all times.
Walkways, runways and ramps
An employer must ensure that a walkway, runway or ramp
(a) is strong enough to support the equipment and workers who may use it,
(b) is at least 600 millimetres wide,
(c) is wide enough to ensure the safe movement of equipment and workers, and
(d) has the appropriate toe boards and guardrails required by Part 22.
An employer must ensure that the surface of a walkway, runway or ramp has sufficient traction to allow workers to move on it safely.
An employer must ensure that
(a) the width of the treads and the height of the rise of a stairway are uniform throughout its length, and
(b) the treads of a stairway are level.
An employer must ensure that
(a) a stairway with 5 or more risers has the appropriate handrail required by this Code, and
(b) a stairway with open sides has a handrail and an intermediate rail or equivalent safeguard on each open side.
An employer must ensure that temporary stairs are at least 600 millimetres wide.
Handrails on stairways
This section applies to stairways with 5 or more risers.
An employer must ensure that a stairway is equipped with a handrail that
(a) extends the entire length of the stairway,
(b) is secured and cannot be dislodged,
(c) is between 800 millimetres and 920 millimetres above the front edge of the treads, and
(d) is substantial and constructed of lumber that is not less than 38 millimetres by 89 millimetres or material with properties the same as or better than those of lumber.
An employer must ensure that posts supporting a handrail
(a) are spaced not more than 3 metres apart at their vertical centres, and
(b) are constructed of lumber that is not less than 38 millimetres by 89 millimetres or materials with properties the same as or better than those of lumber.
Restriction on use
An employer must ensure that workers do not use a ladder to enter or leave an elevated or sub‑level work area if the area has another safe and recognizable way to enter or leave it.
Prohibition on single rail
A person must not make a ladder by fastening cleats across a single rail or post.
Prohibition on painting
Subject to subsection (2), a person must not paint a wooden ladder.
A wooden ladder may be preserved with a transparent protective coating.
Use near energized electrical equipment
An employer must ensure that a ladder used during the servicing of energized or potentially energized electrical equipment is made of non‑conductive material.
Ladders on extending booms
An employer must ensure that
(a) if a ladder is a permanent part of an extending boom on powered mobile equipment, no worker is on the ladder during the articulation, extension or retraction of the boom, and
(b) if outriggers are incorporated in the equipment to provide stability, no worker climbs the ladder until the outriggers are deployed.
Subsection (1)(a) does not apply to professional firefighters working on fire‑fighting equipment.
An employer must ensure that a crawl board or roof ladder used for roof work
(a) is securely fastened by hooking the board or ladder over the ridge of the roof or by another equally effective means, and
(b) is not supported by an eavestrough.
An employer must ensure that a fixed ladder installed on or after April 30, 2004 meets the requirements of PIP Standard STF05501 (February 2002), Fixed Ladders and Cages, published by the Construction Industry Institute.
Despite the standards referenced in PIP Standard STF05501, an employer may
(a) use applicable Canadian material and process standards if the employer ensures that the fixed ladder is designed and installed in accordance with established engineering principles, and
(b) allow the inside diameter of a cage hoop to be as great as 760 millimetres.
If a fixed ladder is made of a material other than steel, the employer must ensure that the design is certified by a professional engineer as being as strong as or stronger than that required by PIP Standard STF05501.
The employer must ensure that a self‑closing double bar safety gate, or equally effective barrier, is provided at ladderway floor openings and platforms of fixed ladders installed on or after April 30, 2004.
Subsection (4) does not apply at landings.
Section 327 applies to an access ladder attached to a scaffold.
Fixed ladders in manholes
Despite section 130, fixed ladders used in pre‑cast reinforced concrete manhole sections installed on or after July 1, 2009 must meet the requirements of ASTM Standard C478‑07, Standard Specification for Reinforced Concrete Manhole Sections.
Rest platform exemption
If each worker working on a drilling rig or service rig on a fixed ladder is equipped with and wears a climb assist device that complies with the manufacturer’s specifications or specifications certified by a professional engineer, an employer is not required to
(a) provide the ladder with rest platforms, or
(b) have the side rails extend not less than 1050 millimetres above the point at which the workers get on or off.
A worker must not perform work from either of the top 2 rungs, steps or cleats of a portable ladder unless the manufacturer’s specifications allow the worker to do so.
Despite subsection (1), a worker may work from either of the top 2 rungs, steps or treads of a stepladder,
(a) if the stepladder has a railed platform at the top, or
(b) if the manufacturer’s specifications for the stepladder permit it.
Constructed portable ladder
An employer must ensure that a constructed portable ladder
(a) is constructed of lumber that is free of loose knots or knot holes,
(b) with a length of 5 metres or less has side rails constructed of lumber measuring not less than 38 millimetres by 89 millimetres,
(c) more than 5 metres long has side rails constructed of lumber measuring not less than 38 millimetres by 140 millimetres,
(d) has side rails that are not notched, dapped, tapered or spliced,
(e) has side rails at least 500 millimetres apart at the bottom, and
(f) has rungs that are
(i) constructed of lumber measuring not less than 21 millimetres by 89 millimetres,
(ii) held by filler blocks or secured by a single continuous wire, and
(iii) uniformly spaced at a centre‑to‑centre distance of 250 millimetres to 300 millimetres.
An employer must ensure that a two‑way constructed portable ladder that is wide enough to permit traffic in both directions at the same time,
(a) has a centre structural rail along the length of the ladder,
(b) is at least 1 metre wide, and
(c) is constructed of materials that are substantial enough in size to accommodate the maximum intended load.
Manufactured portable ladder
An employer must ensure that a portable ladder manufactured on or after July 1, 2009 meets the requirements of
(a) CSA Standard CAN3 Z11‑M81 (R2005), Portable Ladders,
(b) ANSI Standard A14.1‑2007, American National Standard for Ladders — Wood Safety Requirements,
(c) ANSI Standard A14.2‑2007, American National Standard for Ladders — Portable Metal — Safety Requirements, or
(d) ANSI Standard A14.5‑2007, American National Standard for Ladders — Portable Reinforced Plastic — Safety Requirements.
Securing and positioning
A worker must ensure that
(a) a portable ladder is secured against movement and placed on a base that is stable,
(b) the base of an inclined portable ladder is no further from the base of the wall or structure than 1/4 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 metre above a platform, landing or parapet if the ladder is used as a means of access to the platform, landing or parapet.
An employer must ensure that a worker working from a portable ladder from which the worker may fall 3 metres or more uses a personal fall arrest system.
Subsection (1) does not apply while the worker is moving up or down the portable ladder.
Despite subsection (1), if it is not reasonably practical to use a personal fall arrest system, a worker may work from a portable ladder without fall protection if
(a) the work is a light duty task of short duration at each location,
(b) the worker’s centre of balance is at the centre of the ladder at all times even with an arm extended beyond the side rails of the ladder, and
(c) the worker maintains 3‑point contact whenever the worker extends an arm beyond a side rail.