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Nova Scotia Legislation

Nova Scotia Fall Protection

This material has been extracted from the Acts and Regulations of the Province to help students understand the subject. It is not an official source of information and must not be used for any other purpose.

The following is copyright © 2009, Province of Nova Scotia

Occupational Health and Safety Act
S.N.S. 1996, c. 7

Part I: General
Citation and application
1 These regulations may be cited as the Fall Protection and Scaffolding Regulations.
2 These regulations apply to all workplaces to which the Occupational Health and Safety Act applies.

Interpretation
3 (a) "Act" means the Occupational Health and Safety Act;
(b) "ANSI" means the American National Standards Institute;
(c) "anchor point" means a component that is attached to a structure and to which fall protection or scaffold components are secured;
(d) "anti-two blocking device" means a device that warns a person operating a hoisting device that continued movement of the load may cause the load to strike or come into contact with the upper sheaves of the hoisting device;
(e) "approved" means approved by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour or by an approval agency or authority approved by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour;
(f) "arborist" means a person trained and employed, in whole or in part, to climb trees for any economic or scientific purpose, including
(i) detection and treatment of disease, infections or infestations,
(ii) pruning, spraying or trimming,
(iii) repairing damaged trees,
(iv) assessing growth or harvesting potential, or
(v) scientific research;
(g) "boatswain's chair" means a seat attached to a suspended rope, designed to accommodate one person in a sitting position;
(h) "bracket scaffold" means a scaffold consisting of a work platform supported by brackets attached to a structural wall;
(i) "CGSB" means the Canadian General Standards Board;
(j) "CSA" means the Canadian Standards Association;
(k) "cantilevered scaffold" means a scaffold with a work platform that is directly attached to components that extend out from a building or a structure;
(l) "competent person" means a person who is
(i) qualified because of that person's knowledge, training and experience to do the assigned work in a manner that will ensure the health and safety of persons in the workplace, and
(ii) knowledgeable about the provisions of the Act and the regulations, that apply to the assigned work, and about potential or actual danger to health or safety associated with the assigned work;
(m) "crane supported work platform" means a work platform suspended from the cable of a hoist or crane;
(n) "debris net" means a net that is used to catch material and debris which can drop from work areas;
(o) "fall arrest system" means a system of physical components attached to a person that stops a person during a fall;
(p) "fall protection" means a harness, net, rope, safety belt, structure or other equipment, or device or means of
(i) restraining a person who is at risk of falling, or
(ii) stopping a person who has fallen;
(q) "fork-lift platform" means a work platform supported by an industrial lift truck;
(r) "full body harness" means a harness consisting of leg and shoulder straps and an upper back suspension unit that will distribute and reduce the impact force of any fall;
(s) "guardrail" means a temporary system of vertical and horizontal members that warn of a fall hazard and reduce the risk of a fall;
(t) "heavy duty scaffold" means a scaffold designed to support a uniformly distributed load of 366 kg/m2 or more;
(u) "ladderjack scaffold" means a scaffold erected by means of attaching one or more brackets to one or more ladders to support a work platform;
(v) "lanyard" means a flexible line used to secure a person to a lifeline, a static line or a fixed anchor point;
(w) "lifeline" means a vertical line attached to a fixed anchor point or a static line and to which a lanyard and a ropegrab are attached;
(x) "light duty scaffold" means a scaffold designed to support a uniformly distributed load of not more than 366 kg/m2;
(y) "permanent powered suspension work platform" means a powered work platform that is suspended from a suspension mechanism which is a permanent part of a building or structure;
(z) "personnel safety net" means a net that is used to catch a person during a fall;
(aa) "power operated elevating work platform" means a work platform elevated and lowered by means of a mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic or other powered mechanism;
(ab) "practicable" means physically possible in light of current knowledge and invention;
(ac) "professional engineer" means a person who is a professional engineer within the meaning of the Engineering Professions Act and is competent to do the work being performed;
(ad) "pumpjack scaffold" means a scaffold consisting of a work platform supported by vertical poles and adjustable support brackets;
(ae) "reasonably practicable" means practicable unless the person on whom a duty is placed can show that there is a gross disproportion between the benefit of the duty and the cost, in time, trouble and money, of the measures to secure the duty;
(af) "rolling scaffold" means an assembled scaffold
(i) supported by wheels, and
(ii) moved manually;
(ag) "roofing bracket" means a bracket
(i) that is secured to a sloped roof, and
(ii) to which a work platform is secured;
(ah) "ropegrab" means a mechanical fall-arrest device that
(i) is attached to a lifeline and a lanyard, and
(ii) locks itself immediately on the lifeline in the event of a fall;
(ai) "safe means of access and egress" means equipment or a structure that is built to prevent falls by persons going to or from a work area;
(aj) "safe surface" means an area which
(i) has sufficient size and strength to adequately support a person who falls, and
(ii) is sufficiently horizontal to prevent a further fall by a person who has fallen;
(ak) "safety belt" means a belt worn by a person as a means of fall protection;
(al) "scaffold" means
(i) an elevated work platform, or
(ii) a suspended work platform and the supporting components of the work platform;
(am) "softener" means padding or hoses that are used with a lifeline, suspended scaffold or static line to prevent a rope from being cut or chafed;
(an) "static line" means a rope
(i) that is attached horizontally to two or more fixed anchor points, and
(ii) to which a fall arrest system is attached;
(ao) "suspended scaffold" means a scaffold with a work platform supported by ropes suspended from components cantilevered out from a building or other structure, and includes a swingstage, a boatswain's chair and a multi-point suspended scaffold;
(ap) "swingstage" means a scaffold with a work platform supported by two ropes;
(aq) "temporary flooring" means a horizontal working surface that
(i) is designed to give access to areas that do not have permanent flooring, and
(ii) will prevent a worker from falling;
(ar) "thimble" means a metal insert for the inside of a wire rope eye, used when forming an attachment loop, to prevent wear on the rope;
(as) "wooden carpenter's portable bracket scaffold" means a triangular wooden bracket scaffold with gussets that is attached to a vertical wall when in use and which does not normally have another means of support during use;
(at) "work area" means a location at the workplace at which an employee is, or may be required or permitted to be, stationed and includes a work platform; and
(au) "work platform" means a temporary horizontal working surface that provides access and support to a person at the workplace.

Duties of workplace parties
4 (1) A specific duty provided for in these regulations does not limit the generality of any other duty contained in the Act or any other regulations in force under the authority of the Act.
(2) A duty or requirement imposed on an employer or an employee pursuant to these regulations applies to a self-employed person, with such modifications as the circumstances require.

Measurements of lumber
5 Measurements of lumber in these regulations are nominal for dressed dimensions, unless rough lumber or dimensions are specified.
Inconsistencies with incorporated standards
6 Where there is an inconsistency between a standard or a manufacturer's specification referred to in these regulations and a requirement of these regulations, the requirement of these regulations shall prevail.

Part II: Fall Protection
Fall protection required
7 (1) Where a person is exposed to the hazard of falling from a work area that is
(a) 3 m or more above the nearest safe surface or water;
(b) above a surface or thing that could cause injury to the person upon contact; or
(c) above an open tank, pit or vat containing hazardous material,
(i) the person shall wear a fall arrest system that includes a full body harness, a lanyard and an anchor point and that otherwise complies with Section 8,
(ii) a guardrail shall be provided that meets the requirements of Section 9,
(iii) a personnel safety net shall be provided that meets the requirements of Section 10,
(iv) temporary flooring shall be provided that meets the requirements of Section 14, or
(v) a means of fall protection shall be provided that provides a level of safety equal to or greater than a fall arrest system.
(2) Despite subsection (1)
(a) where a person is entering or exiting a work area by a safe means of access and egress, the requirements of subsection (1) do not apply; and
(b) where work must be performed on or from a vehicle, rail car or other mobile equipment, fall protection is required only where and to the extent reasonably practicable;
(c) where it would not be practical to perform work other than from a ladder and it is not practical for the worker to maintain three points of contact while performing the work, fall protection is required only where and to the extent practical; and
(d) where density of tree branches prevents an arborist from crotching, fall protection is required only where and to the extent practical.
(3) Where a person is exposed to the hazard of falling from a work area that is in a location other than those specified in clauses (1)(a), (b) or (c) and an officer determines that fall protection is required, fall protection shall be used.

Fall arrest systems
8 (1) A fall arrest system shall
(a) be adequately secured to
(i) an anchor point, or
(ii) a lifeline that is
(A) securely fastened to an anchor point, or
(B) attached to a static line that is securely fastened to an anchor point
that is capable of withstanding either the maximum load likely to be imposed on the anchor point or a load of 17.8 kN, whichever is greater;
(b) include a lanyard that
(i) is attached to an anchor point or lifeline, where practicable, above the shoulder of the user, and
(ii) complies with CSA Standard Z259.1-1995, "Fall Arresting Safety Belts and Lanyards for the Construction and Mining Industries";
(c) prevent a free fall greater than 1.22 m where
(i) the fall arrest system is not equipped with a shock absorption system that complies with CSA Standard Z259.11-M92, "Safety Belts and Lanyards", and that reduces the shock level of any fall to less than 4 kN; or
(ii) the combined free fall and shock absorbed deceleration distance exceeds the distance between the work area and a safe surface; and
(d) include a full body harness that
(i) is attached to a lanyard,
(ii) is adjusted to fit the user of the harness, and
(iii) complies with CSA Standard Z259.10-M90, "Full Body Harnesses".
(2) A lifeline in a fall arrest system shall
(a) be made of
(i) polypropylene rope with a nominal diameter of at least 16 mm, or
(ii) other durable material that provides at least equal protection to the user as polypropylene rope with a nominal diameter of at least 16 mm;
(b) extend to a safe surface;
(c) be secured at the base to prevent tangling or disturbance of the line;
(d) be securely attached to an anchor point;
(e) be free of knots, lubricants and imperfections;
(f) be free of splices, except as are necessary to connect the lifeline to an anchor point;
(g) be provided with softeners at all sharp edges or corners to protect against cuts or chafing;
(h) be protected from corrosion;
(i) be used by no more than one person at a time;
(j) comply with CSA Standard Z259.2-M1979, "Fall Arresting Devices, Personnel Lowering Devices and Life Lines";
(k) be clearly identified as a lifeline by colour or by another means that provides an equivalent level of safety; and
(l) not be used for other purposes.
(3) Despite clause (2)(a), where a lifeline may be damaged by heat or corrosive material, it shall be made of wire rope that has a diameter of at least 8 mm.
(4) A ropegrab used in a fall arrest system shall comply with CSA Standard Z259.2-M1979, "Fall Arresting Devices, Personnel Lowering Devices and Life Lines".
(5) Each component of a fall arrest system, including each lifeline, shall be inspected by a competent person prior to each use to determine whether there are any defective, or otherwise unsafe components and if a defect is observed, no person shall use or permit the use of the system until the defective components are replaced or repaired.
(6) A fall arrest system that has arrested a fall shall
(a) be removed from service and inspected by a competent person; and
(b) be repaired to the original manufacturer's specifications or destroyed, when a defect is observed.
(7) A static line shall have a nominal diameter of at least 12.7 mm and shall
(a) be equipped with vertical supports at least every 9 m;
(b) have a maximum deflection, when taut, of no greater than 381 mm for a 9 m span;
(c) be equipped with turnbuckles or other comparable tightening device that provides an equivalent level of protection, at the ends of the line;
(d) be made of Improved Plow Wire Rope;
(e) be equipped with softeners at all sharp edges or corners to protect against cuts or chafing; and
(f) be made only of components that are able to withstand either the maximum load likely to be imposed on the components or a load of 8 kN, whichever is greater.
(8) Despite subsections (1), (2), (3), (4) and (7), a fall arrest system for arborists shall
(a) include an approved tree climbing or tree trimming harness or saddle;
(b) be adequately secured to
(i) an anchor point, or
(ii) a lifeline that is
(A) securely fastened to an anchor point, or
(B) attached to a static line that is securely fastened to an anchor point;
(c) include an approved climbing rope or safety strap;
(d) where practicable, include a second approved climbing rope or safety strap that
(i) provides additional stability, and
(ii) back-up fall protection; and
(e) be capable of withstanding either the maximum load likely to be imposed or a load of 17.8 kN, whichever is greater.
(9) Arborists shall
(a) before climbing,
(i) visually assess the structural stability of the tree,
(ii) select and assess the safest path of ascent, and
(iii) select an appropriate crotch position as a work area;
(b) work, wherever practicable, from a crotch position, with a fall arrest system secured to an anchor point above the crotch position;
(c) when changing crotch positions, remain secured by a fall arrest system to the anchor point for the previous crotch position until secured by a fall arrest system to the anchor point for the next crotch position;
(d) not change crotch positions without selecting the next crotch position in advance;
(e) ensure that slack in ropes or lines that are part of the fall arrest system, if any, is
(i) essential to the performance of the work, and
(ii) no greater than is consistent with the safe performance of the work;
(f) not climb above the anchor point unless secured by another fall arrest system secured at or above the level of the arborist;
(g) not work in crews of less than two, one member of which shall remain on the ground; and
(h) when transferring from a power operated work platform to a tree, remain attached by way of fall arrest system to an anchor point on the platform until secured by way of fall arrest system to an anchor point on the tree.

Guardrails
9 (1) A guardrail shall be provided,
(a) around an uncovered opening in a floor or other surface;
(b) at the perimeter or other open side of
(i) a floor, mezzanine, balcony or other surface, and
(ii) a work area,
where a person is exposed to the hazard of a fall described in subsection 7(1).
(2) A guardrail shall be constructed or installed
(a) with posts that
(i) are spaced at intervals of not more than 2.4 metres, and
(ii) are secured against movement by the attachment of the posts to the structure under construction or that is otherwise being worked on, or by another means that provides an equivalent level of safety;
(b) with a top railing that is between 0.91 and 1.06 m above the surface of the protected working area and that is securely fastened to posts secured in compliance with subclause 9(2)(a)(ii);
(c) with a toeboard, securely attached to the posts and the structure to which the posts are secured, extending from the base of the posts to a height of 102 mm; and
(d) with an intermediate railing on the inner side of the posts midway between the top railing and the toeboard.
(3) A guardrail consisting of wood shall, in addition to the requirements of subsection (2),
(a) have top and intermediate railings and posts that are at least 51 mm x 102 mm;
(b) have a toeboard that is at least 25 mm x 75 mm; and
(c) be made of Number One Grade spruce or other lumber that provides an equivalent level of safety.
(4) A guardrail consisting of wire rope shall, in addition to the requirements of subsection (2),
(a) have wire rope railings that are at least 8 mm thick;
(b) be identified with high visibility markings placed every 1.5 m on the top railing; and
(c) have railings with turnbuckles or other means that provide adequate tension to ensure an equivalent level of protection to that provided by a wooden guardrail.
(5) A manufactured guardrail may be used in place of a wooden or wire rope guardrail if it provides an equivalent level of protection to that provided by a wooden guardrail.
(6) No guardrail is required around an opening in a floor or other surface if the opening is covered with fastened planks, plywood or other material where the covering
(a) is capable of supporting four times the maximum load likely to be imposed;
(b) is secured to prevent lateral and upward movement; and
(c) is identified by a sign that warns of the potential hazard.

Personnel safety nets
10 (1) Where used as a means of fall protection, a personnel safety net shall
(a) be installed not more than 4.6 m below the work area; and
(b) where another means of fall protection meeting the requirements of Section 7 is not used, extend 2.4 m on all sides beyond the work area.
(2) A personnel safety net shall be manufactured, used, maintained, inspected and stored in accordance with ANSI standard A10.11-1989, "Safety Nets Used During Construction, Repair and Demolition Operations".
(3) Despite subsection (2),
(a) a personnel safety net shall be installed and maintained so that the maximum deflection when arresting the fall of a person does not allow any portion of the person to contact another surface;
(b) the splice joints that connect two or more safety nets shall be equal or greater in strength to the nets; and
(c) there shall be no obstructions or intervening members that may be struck during a fall between the work area and the personnel safety net.

Debris nets
11 (1) Where persons having access to an area below an elevated work area are exposed to the hazard of falling objects from the work area, a debris net, or other means of protection that provides an equivalent level of protection from falling objects and debris, shall be used.
(2) A debris net shall be
(a) manufactured, used, maintained, inspected and stored in accordance with ANSI standard A10.11-1989, "Safety Nets Used During Construction, Repair and Demolition Operations"; and
(b) despite clause (a), installed not more than 4.6 m below the elevated work area.
12 One net may be used for the purpose of a personnel safety net and a debris net if it meets the requirements specified in these regulations for personnel safety nets.
Safety belts
13 A safety belt used as a means of fall protection shall comply with
(a) CSA Standard Z259.1-1995, "Safety Belts and Lanyards; or
(b) CSA Standard Z259.3-M1978, "Lineman's Body Belt and Lineman's Safety Strap".

Temporary flooring
14 (1) Where temporary flooring is used, it shall be installed at each floor level where work is in progress.
(2) Temporary flooring shall,
(a) except for any openings necessary for the carrying out of work, extend over the whole work area;
(b) be able to withstand four times the maximum load likely to be imposed on it; and
(c) be securely fastened to and supported on members that are able to withstand four times the maximum load likely to be imposed.

Risk of drowning
15 (1) A personal floatation device shall comply with CGSB standard CGSB 65.11-M88, "Personal Floatation Devices".
(2) Where a person is exposed to the hazard of falling from a work area and there is a risk of drowning,
(a) a personal floatation device shall be worn where the work area is less than 3 m above the surface of the water;
(b) rescue equipment shall be provided that includes
(i) an adequate motor boat to ensure a safe and timely rescue,
(ii) a life buoy with 15 m of polypropylene rope that is at least 10 mm in diameter or that is made from material that provides an equivalent level of protection,
(iii) a boat hook,
(iv) an audible alarm system to notify of an accident and to initiate the rescue procedure; and
(c) persons who are
(i) designated to perform specific rescue tasks,
(ii) properly informed as to the proper rescue procedures, and
(iii) trained in the use of the rescue equipment in order to perform rescue operations safely, shall be available in such numbers as are needed in the circumstances to perform rescue operations safely.
(3) Where work is being done above water that has a fast current and where practicable, a line shall be placed across the water
(a) that is made of polypropylene rope that is 10 mm in diameter or material that provides an equivalent level of protection; and
(b) that has buoys or some other floatation device attached.
(4) For greater certainty, subsection (2) does not apply where persons are protected by fall protection in accordance with subsection 7(1).

 

Building shafts
16 Where there is no work platform installed at the level of a doorway or opening in a building shaft, the guardrail that is installed in accordance with these regulations shall be marked with a warning sign that indicates the presence of an open building shaft.

Roof work
17 (1) Where work is being done from or near the edge of a roof that has a slope of less than 3/12 in circumstances described in subsection 7(1), fall protection shall be provided, in accordance with Section 7.
(2) Where work is being done from or on a roof that has a slope that is greater than or equal to 3/12 but less than 6/12, under circumstances described in subsection 7(1), a fully decked scaffold or roof brackets and planks shall be installed at the base of the roof.
(3) Where work is being done from a roof that has a slope that is greater than or equal to 6/12 but less than 9/12, under circumstances described in subsection 7(1), roof brackets and planks shall be installed as work progresses on the roof.
(4) Where work is done from the edge of a roof that has a slope that is greater than or equal to 3/12 but less than 9/12, under circumstances described in subsection 7(1), then in addition to the requirements of subsection (2) or (3), a fully decked scaffold work platform or a fall arrest system shall be used.
(5) Where work is done from or on a roof that has a slope greater than or equal to 9/12, under circumstances described in subsection 7(1), a fully decked scaffold work platform, roof brackets.
 

 

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