There are many types of ladders. Choosing the right ladder for the job is an important part of working safely. Ladders must be able to support the weight of the person working plus any equipment or tools, and be long enough to safely reach the area of work or access the next level. When using any ladder, always use the right ladder for the job. Inspect the ladder before each use. If portable, set up the ladder on a stable surface. Use three-point contact and take care when climbing.
Falls from ladders are common to all trades and are one of the most serious safety problems in construction. Falls from ladders result in serious injuries and fatalities. There are four documents in this series. Please also see Ladders and Other Equipment - General, Ladders - Inspection, and Ladders - Set Up.
The many types of ladders used on construction sites range from metal ladders permanently mounted on equipment to job-built wooden ladders. In general, the most common materials for ladders are aluminum, wood, steel, and fibreglass-reinforced plastic.
Although aluminum ladders are popular and more widely used than wooden ladders in construction, they are also more susceptible to damage by rough usage. Aluminum ladders are good conductors of electricity and therefore must not be used near electrical hazards. Fibreglass-reinforced plastic side rails are also common and are generally used with aluminum rungs. They do not conduct electricity well and are resistant to corrosion. They are lightweight and available in various colours. They tend to be heat-sensitive and may be susceptible to deterioration after long periods of exposure to direct sunlight.
Types of ladders include portable, step, trestle, platform, fixed, special purpose, and job built.
The Ontario Construction Projects Regulations list specifications for certain types of ladders, including definitions of types of ladders. The following ladders have specific requirements:
An access ladder fixed in position must:
Requirements for rest platforms and safety cages do not apply to an access ladder on a tower, water tank, chimney or similar structure that has a safety device that will provide protection should a worker fall when using the ladder.
For more information about ladders, use the documents listed under the resources tab.
O. Reg. 213/91
Part II GENERAL CONSTRUCTION
78. In sections 78 to 84,
"extension trestle ladder" means a self-supporting portable ladder that is adjustable in length, consisting of a trestle ladder base, a vertically adjustable extension section and an adequate means of locking the ladder base and extension section together;
"platform ladder" means a self-supporting portable ladder that is not adjustable in length, where the highest standing level is a platform;
"single ladder" means a non-self-supporting portable ladder that is not adjustable in length and having only one section;
"step-ladder" means a self-supporting portable ladder that is not adjustable in length, having flat steps and a hinged back, and whose back section is either a single ladder or other supporting device, but does not include a step stool or platform ladder;
"step stool" means a self-supporting, portable, fixed or foldable ladder, not adjustable in length, and having,
(a) a height of 800 millimetres or less, excluding side rails, if any, above the top cap,
(b) flat steps, but no pail shelf, and
(c) a ladder top cap that can be stood or stepped on;
"top step" means the first step below the top cap of a step-ladder or, if there is no top cap, the first step below the top of the rails;
"trestle ladder" means a self-supporting portable ladder, non-adjustable in length, having two sections and hinged at the top so as to be able to form equal angles with the base.
[O. Reg. 345/15, s. 13]
80. (1) A portable ladder at a project shall be manufactured and shall meet the design, performance, test and marking requirements of a Grade 1, Grade 1A or Grade 1AA ladder in the CSA Standard Z11-12 , Portable Ladders.
(2) Despite subsection (1), a portable single ladder that is custom-built for use at a project may be used at the project if the ladder has,
(a) rungs spaced at 300 millimetres on centres;
(b) side rails at least 300 millimetres apart; and
(c) a maximum length, measured along its side rail, of not more than nine metres.
(3) If a portable single ladder under subsection (2) is made of wood, the ladder shall also,
(a) be made of wood that is straight-grained and free of loose knots, sharp edges, splinters and shakes; and
(b) not be painted or coated with an opaque material that obscures the wood grain or interferes with inspections of the ladder.
(4) If the rungs of a ladder under subsection (3) are of the cleat type, the ladder shall also,
(a) have side rails that are not less than 400 millimetres but not more than 610 millimetres apart;
(b) have side rails that measure not less than,
(i) 38 millimetres by 89 millimetres if the ladder is 5.8 metres long or less, or
(ii) 38 millimetres by 140 millimetres if the ladder is more than 5.8 metres long;
(c) have rungs that measure not less than,
(i) 19 millimetres by 64 millimetres if the side rails are 400 millimetres apart, or
(ii) 19 millimetres by 89 millimetres if the side rails are more than 400 millimetres apart; and
(d) have rungs braced by filler blocks that are at least 19 millimetres thick and located between the rungs.
(5) If a ladder under subsection (3) is a double-width wooden ladder, the ladder shall also,
(a) have three evenly-spaced rails that measure at least 38 millimetres by 140 millimetres;
(b) have rungs that,
(i) measure at least 38 millimetres by 89 millimetres,
(ii) extend the full width of the ladder, and
(iii) are braced by filler blocks that are at least 19 millimetres thick; and
(c) be at least 1.5 metres wide but not more than 2 metres wide.
[O. Reg. 345/15, s. 13]
84. (1) Subject to subsection (2), an access ladder fixed in position,
(a) shall be vertical;
(b) shall have rest platforms at not more than nine metre intervals;
(c) shall be offset at each rest platform;
(d) where the ladder extends over five metres above grade, floor or landing, shall have a safety cage commencing not more than 2.2 metres above grade, floor or landing and continuing at least 90 centimetres above the top landing with openings to permit access by a worker to rest platforms or to the top landing;
(e) shall have side rails that extend 90 centimetres above the landing;
(f) shall have rungs that are at least 15 centimetres from the wall and spaced at regular intervals.
(g) shall have an adequate landing surface that is clear of obstructions at the top and bottom of the ladder for access and egress;
(h) shall be free from defective or loose rungs; and
(i) shall not be used in an elevator shaft or a similar hoisting area when the shaft or area is being used for hoisting.
(2) Clauses (1) (b), (c) and (d) do not apply to any access ladder on a tower, water tank, chimney or similar structure that has a safety device that will provide protection should a worker using the ladder fall.
[O. Reg. 631/94, s. 2; 345/15, s. 14]
85. Repealed. [O. Reg. 145/00, s. 24]
86. Repealed. [O. Reg. 145/00, s. 24]
Forms, Formwork, Falsework and Re-shoring