A worker at risk of falling certain distances (see below) must be protected by a guardrail system or, if guardrails are not practical, by a travel-restraint system , fall-restricting system , fall-arrest system , or safety net . In many cases, guardrails are the most reliable and convenient means of fall protection and they must be your first consideration.
Employers to adequately protect workers with the highest ranked fall protection method that is practicable, the most protective being a travel restraint system to the least protective being safety nets.
Guardrails or, if guardrails are impractical, other appropriate methods of fall protection or a protective covering must be used when:
Requirements for a guardrail system include:
A guardrail must be capable of resisting anywhere along its length and without exceeding the allowable unit stress for each material used—the following loads when applied separately:
Post may only be more than 2.4 metres apart if the guardrail system is capable of meeting the above specified loads.
For guardrail systems made of wood, additional requirements include:
Note that if the guardrail system made of wood are constructed and installed so that it can resist all loads that may be applied by a worker, some subsections for load capacity may not apply.
For guardrail systems made of wire rope, additional requirements include:
O. Reg. 213/91
Part II GENERAL CONSTRUCTION
26. Sections 26.1 to 26.9 apply where a worker may be exposed to any of the following hazards:
1. Falling more than 3 metres.
2. Falling more than 1.2 metres, if the work area is used as a path for a wheelbarrow or similar equipment.
3. Falling into operating machinery.
4. Falling into water or another liquid.
5. Falling into or onto a hazardous substance or object.
6. Falling through an opening on a work surface.
[O. Reg. 145/00, s. 12; 85/04, s. 4; 345/15, s. 4]
26.1 (1) A worker shall be adequately protected by a guardrail system that meets the requirements of subsections 26.3(2) to (8).
(2) Despite subsection (1), if it is not practicable to install a guardrail system as that subsection requires, a worker shall be adequately protected by the highest ranked method that is practicable from the following ranking of fall protection methods:
1. A travel restraint system that meets the requirements of section 26.4.
2. A fall restricting system that meets the requirements of section 26.5.
3. A fall arrest system, other than a fall restricting system designed for use in wood pole climbing, that meets the requirements of section 26.6.
4. A safety net that meets the requirements of section 26.8.
(3) The components of any system listed in subsection (2) shall be designed by a professional engineer in accordance with good engineering practice, and shall meet the requirements of any of the following National Standards of Canada standards that are applicable:
1. CAN/CSA-Z259.1-05 : Body Belts and Saddles for Work Positioning and Travel Restraint.
2. CAN/CSA-Z259.2.5-12 : Fall Arresters and Vertical Lifelines
3. CAN/CSA-Z259.2.2-98 (R2004) : Self-Retracting Devices for Personal Fall-Arrest Systems.
4. CAN/CSA-Z259.2.3-99 (R2004) : Descent Control Devices.
5. CAN/CSA-Z259.10-06 : Full Body Harnesses.
6. CAN/CSA-Z259.11-05 : Energy Absorbers and Lanyards.
7. CAN/CSA-Z259.12-01 (R2006) : Connecting Components for Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS).
8. CAN/CSA-Z259.14-01 (R2007) : Fall Restrict Equipment for Wood Pole Climbing.
(4) Before any use of a fall arrest system or a safety net by a worker at a project, the worker's employer shall develop written procedures for rescuing the worker after his or her fall has been arrested.
[O. Reg. 145/00, s. 12; 85/04, s. 5; 443/09, s. 1; 345/15, s. 5]
26.3 (1) Despite paragraph 1 of section 26, a guardrail system that meets the requirements of this section shall be used if a worker has access to the perimeter or an open side of any of the following work surfaces and may be exposed to a fall of 2.4 metres or more:
1. A floor, including the floor of a mezzanine or balcony.
2. The surface of a bridge.
3. A roof while formwork is in place.
4. A scaffold platform or other work platform, runway or ramp.
(2) One of the following precautions shall be used to prevent a worker from falling through an opening on a work surface:
1. A guardrail system that meets the requirements of this section.
2. A protective covering that,
i. completely covers the opening,
ii. is securely fastened,
iii. is adequately identified as covering an opening,
iv. is made from material adequate to support all loads to which the covering may be subjected, and
v. is capable of supporting a live load of at least 2.4 kilonewtons per square metre without exceeding the allowable unit stresses for the material used.
(3) The guardrail system or protective covering required under subsection (1) or (2) may be removed temporarily to perform work in or around the opening if a worker is adequately protected and signs are posted in accordance with subsections 44(1) and (2).
(4) The following are the specifications for a guardrail system:
1. It shall have a top rail, an intermediate rail and a toe board.
2. The intermediate rail may be replaced by material that can withstand a point load of 450 newtons applied in a lateral or vertical downward direction.
3. Subject to subsection 116 (8), the top of the guardrail system shall be located at least 0.9 metres but not more than 1.1 metres above the surface on which the system is installed.
4. The intermediate rail shall be located midway between the top rail and the toe board.
4.1 The toe board shall extend from the surface to which the guardrail system is attached to a height of at least 89 millimetres.
5. If the guardrail system is located at the perimeter of a work surface, the distance between the edge of the surface and the guardrail system shall not be greater than 300 millimetres.
(5) A guardrail system shall be capable of resisting anywhere along the length of the system the following loads when applied separately, without exceeding the allowable unit stress for each material used:
1. A point load of 675 newtons applied in a lateral direction to the top rail.
2. A point load of 450 newtons applied in a vertical downward direction to the top rail.
3. A point load of 450 newtons applied in a lateral or vertical downward direction to the intermediate rail, or midway between the top rail and the toe board.
4. A point load of 225 newtons applied in a lateral direction to the toe board.
(6) The distance between any two adjacent posts of the guardrail system may be greater than 2.4 metres only if the system is capable of resisting the loads specified in subsection (5) increased in proportion to the greater distance between the posts.
(7) The following additional requirements apply to a guardrail system that is made of wood:
1. The wood shall be spruce, pine or fir (S-P-F) timber of construction grade quality or better and shall not have any visible defect affecting its load-carrying capacity.
2. The wood shall be free of sharp objects such as splinters and protruding nails.
3. The system shall have posts that are at least 38 millimetres by 89 millimetres, are securely fastened to the surface and are spaced at intervals of not more than 2.4 metres.
4. The top rail and the intermediate rail shall each be at least 38 millimetres by 89 millimetres.
(7.1) If a guardrail system that is made of wood is constructed and installed so that it is capable of resisting all loads that it may be subjected to by a worker, the following do not apply:
1. The requirement in paragraph 2 of subsection (4) that the replacement material can withstand a point load of 450 newtons.
2. Subsections (5) and (6).
(8) The following additional requirements apply to a guardrail system that is made of wire rope:
1. The top rail and intermediate rail shall be made of wire rope that is at least 10 millimetres in diameter, and the rope shall be kept taut by a turnbuckle or other device.
2. The outward deflection of the top rail and intermediate rail resulting from the loads specified in subsection (5) shall not extend beyond the edge of a work surface.
3. The system shall have vertical separators at intervals of not more than 2.4 metres and horizontal supports at intervals of not more than 9 metres.
4. Repealed. [O. Reg. 443/09, s. 2]
[O. Reg. 145/00, s. 14; 443/09, s. 2; 345/15, s. 6]