OHS Code Explanation Guide

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

Section 119 Safe entry and exit

Subsection 119(1)

Workers must be provided with a safe way of entering and leaving a work area. Safe entry and exit must take into account both normal operations and emergency situations. For example, a proper climbing device may provide safe access to a derrickman’s working platform but safe exit from the platform in an emergency may be by way of an escape buggy. Based on the hazards present at the workplace or in a particular work area, multiple entry and exit points may be required to permit safe entry or exit under emergency conditions.

Subsections 119(2) and 119 (3)

All means of entry or exit must be maintained in a good state of repair e.g. access ladders have all rungs in place, the hinges and panic bars on doors operate properly, the braking mechanism of an emergency escape buggy operates smoothly.

Means of entry and exit must be kept clear of materials, equipment, waste, and other obstructions. Doing so allows workers to safely move into and out of work areas, preventing slips, trips, and falls.

Subsection 119(4)

Multiple entry and exit points are required in situations where a worker could become isolated from a primary escape route and unable to return to it. A long trench for example, requires multiple access ladders in case a worker in the trench is unable to get back to the primary access ladder to leave the trench. A room in which an industrial process goes on involving dangerous chemicals may require multiple exit doorways so that workers can quickly leave the area in an emergency.

This secondary means of escape must be conveniently located, safe for use, maintained to be ready for use at all times (as in the case of the emergency escape buggy mentioned above), and must be kept free of obstructions. This subsection reminds employers that secondary doorways, stairways, ramps, emergency escape devices, etc. must be provided where necessary and cannot be forgotten.

Subsection 119(5)

Workers must be made aware of the escape routes they are expected to use.