Nova Scotia Legislation

Nova Scotia Ladder Safety

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.
This material is copyright © 2009, Province of Nova Scotia.
Occupational Safety General Regulations
made under Section 82 of the
Occupational Health and Safety Act
S.N.S. 1996, c. 7 O.I.C. 1999-195 (April 28, 1999, effective May 1, 2000*), N.S. Reg. 44/99 as amended up to O.I.C. 2004-14 (January 23, 2004), N.S. Reg. 4/2004  (*except as otherwise noted)

Part 13 - Premises and Building Safety, Construction and Demolition
Ladders 147 An employer shall ensure that a fixed ladder is designed, constructed, installed and maintained in accordance with ANSI standard A14.3 - 1992 "American National Standard for Ladders - Fixed - Safety Requirements".
148 (1) An employer shall ensure that a portable ladder used at a workplace is
(a) able to withstand 4 times the maximum load likely to be imposed;
(b) clean and free of grease, oil or other substances that may cause slipping;
(c) maintained in a safe condition;
(d) inspected by a competent person before each use to ensure all components are in an adequate condition and the ladder is safe to use; and
(e) not used, where the inspection required in clause (d) identifies an inadequate condition with the ladder.
(2) An employer shall ensure that a person using a fixed or portable ladder shall
(a) face the ladder when climbing or descending;
(b) when more than 1 m above a safe surface, maintain adequate contact with the ladder, such as 3-point contact;
Clause 148(2)(b) replaced: O.I.C. 2000-130, N.S. Reg. 52/2000.
(c) where the person is standing on a ladder, stand in the centre between the side rails;
(d) where the ladder is a step ladder, not stand on the material shelf, the top or the top step of the ladder; and
where the ladder is not a step ladder, not work from the top three rungs of the ladder.
Subsection 148(2) amended: O.I.C. 2000-130, N.S. Reg. 52/2000.
(3) Clauses (2)(b), (c), (d) and (e) do not apply to a firefighter engaged in structural firefighting or rescue.
(4) An employer shall remove a ladder from service when it has loose, broken or missing rungs, split side rails or other defects that may be hazardous to the safety of a person at the workplace.
149 (1) An employer shall ensure that a wooden portable ladder that is not commercially manufactured
(a) is made of No. 1 or No. 2 spruce, pine, or fir as graded according to CAN/CSA-0141-91, "Softwood Lumber", or other lumber that provides an equivalent level of safety;
Clause 149(1)(a) replaced: O.I.C. 2000-130, N.S. Reg. 52/2000.
(b) is not painted other than by being preserved with a transparent protective coating;
(c) if a single ladder, does not exceed 9 m in length;
(d) has rungs that are
(i) free of knots,
(ii) designed to carry a load of 200 kg placed at the centre,
(iii) uniformly spaced with a maximum rise of 300 mm,
(iv) secured to each side of the side rail of the ladder by at least 3 screws or spiral nails of adequate length or by attachments giving equivalent or better strength, and
Subclause 149(1)(d)(iv) amended: O.I.C. 2000-130, N.S. Reg. 52/2000.
(v) subject to subsection (3), cleated to the side rails; and
(e) has side rails that
(i) are dressed on all sides and without sharp edges,
(ii) subject to subsection (3), have a uniform clear width between them of not less than 300 mm for ladders 3 m in length or less, and increasing 1 mm in width for each 100 mm in excess of 3 m, \
(iii) where the ladder is less than 5.7 m in length, have dimensions of at least 50 mm thick by at least 100 mm wide, and
(iv) subject to subsection (3), where the ladder is 5.7 m or greater in length, have dimensions of at least 50 mm thick by at least 150 mm wide.
(2) An employer shall ensure that a ladder does not sway or sag in an unsafe manner.
(3) An employer shall ensure that a portable ladder that is designed specifically for the purpose of harvesting fruit from trees and is used only for that purpose, is erected, constructed, maintained and used so as to be adequate for that purpose.
(4) Subclause (1)(d)(v) and subclauses (1)(e)(ii) and (iv) do not apply to a ladder that conforms to the requirements of subsection (3).
150 (1) An employer shall ensure that a portable ladder that is commercially manufactured is designed and manufactured in accordance with CSA standard CAN3-Z11-M81, "Portable Ladders".
(2) Despite subsection (1), an employer shall ensure that Grade 3 portable ladders, as described in any edition of CSA standard CAN3-Z11, "Portable Ladders", are not used at a workplace.
(3) An employer shall ensure that a commercially manufactured portable ladder
(a) where it is an extension ladder, maintains an adequate overlap between the sections of the ladder;
(b) has locks engaged before the extension ladder is climbed; and
(c) where there is a risk of contact with live electrical conductors, is non-conductive.

Clause 150(3)(c) added: O.I.C. 2000-130, N.S. Reg. 52/2000.
151 (1) An employer shall ensure that when a portable ladder is used
(a) it is placed on a firm footing;
(b) it is secured in an adequate manner against movement as soon as reasonably practicable;

Clause 151(1)(b) replaced: O.I.C. 2000-130, N.S. Reg. 52/2000.
(c) as a means of access or exit, it
(i) has side rails that extend at least 1 m above any platform or landing, and
(ii) has a clearance of at least 150 mm between it and the supporting structure, except in the area where the ladder is supported against the structure; and
(d) as a step ladder, it has legs securely held in position by means of metal braces or an equivalent rigid support.
(2) An employer shall ensure that, when a portable ladder is used, it is not
(a) spliced together with another ladder unless the spliced section is braced so that the spliced side rails are as strong as the original side rails;
(b) placed in front of or against a door that can be opened towards the ladder unless the door is blocked in the open position, locked or guarded;
(c) used as a scaffold, ramp, or as a support for such flooring;
(d) placed on a box, barrel, scaffold, or other unstable base;
(e) lashed to another ladder to increase its length; or
(f) located in an elevator shaft or hoistway when such space is being used for hoisting.

152 Where a portable ladder is used as a means of access or exit for a height greater than 6 m and for 7 or more persons, an employer shall provide 2 separate lines of ladders.
Part 14 - Excavations and Trenches
167 No person shall enter an excavation or trench 1.2 m or more in depth unless an employer ensures that a ladder is installed that extends at least 1 m above the excavation or trench or some other adequate means of access and exit is provided
(a) that is no more than 15 m from where the person is working; or
(b) where a trench cage is used, within the trench cage.

Part 16 - Equipment for Firefighters
Portable ladders 200 Where a portable ground ladder is used for structural fire-fighting, an employer shall ensure that it complies with or exceeds NFPA standard NFPA 1931, "Standard on Design of and Design Verification Tests for Fire Department Ground Ladders", 1999 edition, and is used, maintained and tested in accordance with NFPA standard NFPA 1932, "Standard on Use, Maintenance and Service Testing of Fire Department Ground Ladders", 1999 edition.
Section 200 amended: O.I.C. 2000-130, N.S. Reg. 52/2000.
Aerial devices 201 (1) In this Section, "aerial device" includes an aerial bucket, aerial ladder, elevating platform, aerial ladder platform or water tower that is designed to position personnel, handle materials, provide a means of exit or discharge water, as the case may be.


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