Home

Guardrails

Follow these links
to related legislation

Highlighted words reveal
definitions and supplementary
information when selected

Falls are the number one killer in construction. Protection from falls is critical for both employers and workers. Selecting the most effective fall protective measures and using appropriate equipment at all times will reduce the risk of falls.

Controls are most effective when they are selected according to the “hierarchy of control”. Where there is a risk of falling, the employer must always look for ways to eliminate the risk of a fall. One effective way to reduce falls is to use systems such as guardrails or netting. Guardrails are most often used to protect from falls through roof openings or over the roof edge. Guardrails must be attached to the edge or as close to the open edge as possible. The guardrail system must be designed to withstand loads that will be applied to them during roofing operations. Well-anchored standards are essential to the performance of this fall protection system.

Note: Requirements marked with * are also valid for owners.

An employer or contractor must:

  • Ensure that the guardrail meets the following specifications:*
  • Ensure that if wire rope guardrail is used at the external perimeter of a building under construction as permitted , that wire rope meets the following specifications*:
    • Horizontal top member and horizontal intermediate member made of wire rope that is not less than 9.5mm in diameter, with vertical separators not less than 50mm wide that are spaced at intervals not exceeding 2.4m;
    • Horizontal top member must be between 920mm and 1070mm above the working surface and horizontal intermediate member must be spaced midway between the horizontal top member and the working surface;
    • Maintained taut by means of a turnbuckle or other appropriate device;
    • Arranged so that a worker coming into contact with the ropes cannot fall through.
  • Ensure that no worker hangs equipment on a guardrail*;
  • Ensure that a storage tank is fitted with a permanent walkway with guardrails if a worker is regularly required to walk or work on top of a storage tank and ensure that any opening in the tank into which a worker may fall is guarded by a grid or other suitable means*;
  • Ensure that work platform mounted on a forklift on which a worker may be raised or lowered or permitted to work is equipped with guardrails and toeboards meeting the requirements of sections 122 and 123; and meets the other requirements prescribed;
  • Provide toeboards at the edge of a permanent floor, platform, mezannine, walkway, ramp, runway or other surface from which it is possible for materials to fall more than 1.2m*;
  • Provide toeboards at the edge of a temporary scaffold or work platform from which it is possible for materials to fall more than 3m*.
  • Ensure that spudding in does not occur until all platforms, stairways, handrails and guardrails are installed and securely fastened in place;

Special requirements for guardrails used in Mining Operations

Note: Requirements marked with * are also valid for owners. An employer or contractor must:

  • Ensure that a fixed ladder in an untimbered raise is equipped with guardrails*;
  • Ensure that a dredge used at a mine is equipped with adequate guardrails to prevent any worker from falling into the water and as prescribed.

A worker must:

Not hang any equipment on a guardrail.

Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996
S.S., c. O-1.1, Reg 1

Part IX Safeguards, Storage, Warning Signs and Signals

Section 122 Guardrails

122. (1) Subject to subsections (2) to (4), where the installation of a guardrail is required by these regulations, an employer, contractor or owner shall ensure that the guardrail:

(a) has a horizontal top member that is not less than 920 millimetres and not more than 1070 millimetres above the working surface;

(b) has a horizontal intermediate member that is spaced midway between the horizontal top member and the working surface;

(c) is supported for the entire length of the guardrail by vertical members that are:

(i) not more than three metres apart, in the case of a guardrail installed before the coming into force of this section; and

(ii) where reasonably practicable, not more than 2.4 metres apart, in the case of a guardrail installed on or after the coming into force of this section;

(d) is capable of supporting a worker who may fall against the guardrail; and

(e) is constructed of 38 by 89 millimetre construction grade lumber or other materials that are of equal or greater strength.

(2) Clause (1)(a) does not apply to a guardrail that:

(a) was installed on or before October 30, 1988; and

(b) is not less than 900 millimetres nor more than one metre above the working surface.

(3) A horizontal intermediate member is not required in the case of a temporary guardrail that is manufactured with a substantial barrier completely filling the area enclosed by the horizontal top member, a horizontal bottom member and the vertical members.

(4) A wire rope guardrail may be used at the external perimeter of a building under construction.

(5) Where a wire rope guardrail is used pursuant to subsection (4), an employer, contractor or owner shall ensure that:

(a) the guardrail consists of a horizontal top member and a horizontal intermediate member made of wire rope that is not less than 9.5 millimetres in diameter, with vertical separators not less than 50 millimetres wide that are spaced at intervals not exceeding 2.4 metres;

(b) the horizontal top member and horizontal intermediate member are positioned above the working surface in accordance with clauses (1)(a) and (b);

(c) the guardrail is kept taut by means of a turnbuckle or other appropriate device; and

(d) the guardrail is arranged so that a worker coming into contact with the ropes cannot fall through the ropes.

(6) An employer, contractor or owner shall ensure that no worker hangs equipment on a guardrail.

Section 123 Toeboards

123. (1) An employer, contractor or owner shall provide toeboards at the edge of:

(a) a permanent floor, platform, mezzanine, walkway, ramp, runway or other surface from which it is possible for materials to fall more than 1.2 metres;

(b) a temporary scaffold or work platform from which it is possible for materials to fall more than three metres; and

(c) a pit for a flywheel or pulley.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a loading or unloading area if the employer, contractor or owner has taken other precautions to ensure that materials will not fall from the floor or other horizontal surface.

(3) Where a toeboard is required by these regulations, an employer, contractor or owner shall ensure that the toeboard extends from the floor or other horizontal surface to a height of not less than:

(a) 125 millimetres from the floor or surface; or

(b) 100 millimetres from the floor or surface, in the case of a toeboard that was installed before March 13, 1986.

Section 127 Storage tanks

127. (1) Where a worker is regularly required to walk or work on top of a storage tank, an employer, contractor or owner shall ensure that the storage tank is fitted with a permanent walkway with guardrails.

(2) Where a worker is required to walk or work on top of a storage tank, an employer, contractor or owner shall ensure that any opening in the tank into which a worker may fall is guarded by a grid or other suitable means to prevent the worker from falling into the tank.

Part XII Scaffolds, Aerial Devices, Elevating Work Platforms and Temporary Supporting Structures

Section 194 Forklifts

194. (1) An employer or contractor shall ensure that no worker is raised or lowered by, or required or permitted to work on, a forklift or any device mounted on a forklift except as provided by this section.

(2) An employer or contractor shall ensure that a work platform mounted on a forklift on which a worker may be raised or lowered or required or permitted to work is:

(a) designed and constructed to an approved standard or designed and constructed and certified safe for use by a professional engineer to support safely the maximum load that the platform is expected to support;

(b) securely attached to the forks of the forklift to prevent accidental lateral or vertical movement of the platform;

(c) equipped with guardrails and toeboards that meet the requirements of sections 122 and 123; and

(d) equipped with a screen or similar barrier along the edge of the platform adjacent to the mast of the forklift to prevent a worker from contacting the mast drive mechanism.

(3) The employer or contractor shall ensure that a worker working from a work platform mentioned in subsection (2) uses a personal fall arrest system that meets the requirements of Part VII.

(4) An employer or contractor shall comply with the requirements mentioned in section 167.

[Sask. Reg. 67/2007, s. 21]

Part XXIX Oil and Gas

Section 427 Spudding in

427. An employer, contractor or owner shall ensure that spudding in is not begun until:

(a) all safeguards required by these regulations are in place;

(b) all platforms, stairways, handrails and guardrails are installed and securely fastened in position; and

(c) the auxiliary escape line required by section 422 is installed and inspected.

Mines Regulations, 2003
R.R.S., c. O-1, r. 2

Part VI Design of Mines

Section 38 Fixed ladders underground

38. (1) Section 255 of the OHS regulations does not apply to fixed ladders underground.

(2) If a fixed ladder is provided in an underground manway or a shaft, the employer or contractor must ensure that the ladder meets the requirements of this section.

(3) A fixed ladder must be securely held in place at the top and bottom and at any intermediate points that are necessary to prevent sway in the ladder.

(4) The rungs of a fixed ladder must be uniformly spaced with centres that are not less than 250 millimetres and not more than 300 millimetres apart.

(5) A clearance of at least 150 millimetres must be maintained between the rungs on a fixed ladder and the structure to which the ladder is affixed.

(6) The side rails of a fixed ladder must extend at least one metre above any platform, roof or other landing on the structure to which the ladder is fixed, unless suitable handrails are provided.

(7) A fixed ladder must be equipped with suitably sized and sturdily constructed platforms at height intervals of not more than seven metres if the ladder:

(a) is more than seven metres high; and

(b) is inclined more than 50o from the horizontal.

(8) A suitably sized and sturdily constructed platform must be installed at every point at which a fixed ladder is offset.

(9) The size of a ladder opening in a platform, roof or other landing must be sufficient to allow the passage of a worker wearing self-contained breathing apparatus or a stretcher bearing an injured worker.

(10) If a ladder is inclined from the horizontal at 70o or more, the ladder must be offset to cover the openings in platforms.

(11) If a ladder is inclined from the horizontal at more than 50o but less than 70o, the ladder may be continuous through the platforms.

(12) An employer, contractor or owner must ensure that a fixed ladder in an untimbered raise is equipped with guardrails.

Part VII Work Practices and Procedures

Section 73 Dredges

73. (1) An employer or contractor must ensure that a dredge used at a mine is equipped with:

(a) adequate and suitable fire-fighting equipment;

(b) adequate guard rails to prevent any worker from falling into the water;

(c) a suitable gangplank for exit to a permanent walkway;

(d) a ladder on each side of the dredge that extends from the deck to the water level for rescue purposes;

(e) an adequate means of exit from the engine room and control cabin; and

(f) an effective means of communicating with workers on the dredge.

(2) If a worker is required or permitted to be on a dredge that is not connected to the shore by a walkway, the employer or contractor must ensure that at least two suitable boats, one based at the dredge and the other based at the shore, are available for immediate use.

(3) An employer or contractor must ensure that no flammable materials, other than lubricant and fuel necessary for 24 hours of operation, are stored on a dredge.

(4) The employer or contractor must ensure that every dredge put into service on or after the coming into force of these regulations is equipped with lightning protection system that conforms to the requirements of Canadian Standards Association standard CAN/CSA-B72-M87 (Reaffirmed 1998), Installation Code for Lightning Protection Systems.

(5) The employer or contractor must ensure that a dredge put into service before the coming into force of these regulations and not equipped in accordance with subsection (4) is not used during an electrical storm.

Part III Plans and Records

Section 12 Record retention

12. (1) Unless specifically provided otherwise in these regulations, an employer, contractor or owner must retain all records required by these regulations at the mine for a period of at least three years after the day on which the record was created or the last entry in the record was made.

(2) If a mine is abandoned, the employer, contractor or owner, in consultation with the chief mines inspector, must ensure that all records that are relevant to the health of workers and self-employed persons are kept indefinitely and made available to workers.