OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 9 Fall Protection

Section 154 Fixed ladders and climbable structures

For the purposes of subsection 154(1), a worker ascending or descending a fixed ladder is not actually “working from or on a fixed ladder” and thus fall protection is not required. If a worker stops on the ladder to, for example take measurements, operate a valve, open a hatch, paint a surface, etc., and can fall a distance of 3 metres or more, a fall protection system must be used.

A ladder cage is a permanent structure attached to a ladder to provide a barrier between the worker and the surrounding space. It serves to support a worker if the worker needs to rest against a barrier. A ladder cage is not a type of fall protection.

A climbable structure is an engineered or architectural work where the primary method of accessing the structure is by climbing the structure with the principle means of support being the climber’s hands and feet. Examples of climbable structures include power transmission towers, communication towers, large units of powered mobile equipment such as dump trucks, cranes and crane booms, etc. Due to the variety of structure climbing access techniques and the associated hazards, it is essential that a worker be given sufficient instruction to perform the required skills that are needed to safely access a structure and be compliant with this Part.

A worker climbing, working, resting, transitioning between work and rest positions, or transferring from one distinct structure to another on a climbable structure needs to use an appropriate fall protection system that provides the worker with continuous fall protection.