OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 8 Entrances, Walkways, Stairways and Ladders

Section 136 Securing and positioning

Section 136(a)

A portable ladder can be secured against movement in many ways. Because it can move at both its upper and lower ends, ideally it should be secured at both ends (see Figures 8.10 and 8.11). Slip-resistant or rubber safety feet at the bottom of a metal or reinforced plastic ladder are considered to offer securement if they rest on a firm, non-slippery surface. Neither CSA or ANSI requires the feet of wooden ladders to be equipped with slip-resistant material. If the feet of a wooden ladder rest securely on a firm, non-slippery surface, then the intent of the requirement is met.

If the surface that the ladder rests on is slippery or it is possible for the base of the ladder to move, then the ladder must be secured. Examples of acceptable securement methods include

(a) spikes driven through the feet into the surface upon which the ladder base rests;

(b) cleats nailed into the surface to prevent movement;

(c) tying the feet of the ladder to stakes in the ground to stop it from slipping (place a large flat wooden board underneath to help prevent it sinking);

(d) butting the base of the ladder against a fixed structure such as a curb or wall, heavy blocks, or sandbags;

(e) having a person stand at the base, one foot on the lowest rung, holding a side rail in each hand.

Figure 8.10 Examples of securing the base of a ladder (rubber safety feet, cleats nailed to the floor, tying off to stakes in the ground)

At the top of the ladder, both rails should be supported unless the ladder has a single support attachment. Ladder ties to the support at the top are often used. An alternative might be to tie ropes or straps from the side rails (not the rungs) to a fixed object.

Figure 8.11 Examples of securing a portable ladder at the top

Section 136(b)

Ladders must be set up so that the base is out 1 metre for each 4 metres up (see Figure 8.12). “4 up – 1 out” gives the right slope – approximately 75° from the horizontal. This position offers the ladder, and the worker standing on it, the greatest stability.

Figure 8.12 Proper placement of ladder

Section 136(c)

The side rails of a portable ladder must extend at least 1 metre (3 feet) above any platform, landing or parapet where the ladder is used as a means of access to the platform, landing or parapet (see Figure 8.13). Doing so provides the worker using the ladder with handholds for getting on and off the ladder.

Figure 8.13 Top of ladder extending above access level