Government of Canada / Gouvernement du Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada


Maritime Occupational Health and Safety Regulations

Version of section 12 from 2021-06-04 to 2023-12-19:

  •  (1) Means of access used to board and disembark from a vessel must provide a safe passage between the vessel and shore or between two vessels, as the case may be.

  • (2) Every vessel that is moored alongside a wharf or another vessel must be fitted with at least one means of access between the vessel and the wharf or the other vessel.

  • (3) If a means of access leads to a location on board a vessel that is more than 0.35 m above the deck, safe access to the deck must be provided by means of a series of steps, a ladder or other similar structure.

  • (4) The series of steps, ladder or similar structure must

    • (a) be firmly secured to the bulwark so as to prevent its shifting, slipping or pivoting;

    • (b) be aligned with the means of access to the vessel;

    • (c) have treads that are at least 600 mm in width and 200 mm in depth, with a non-slip surface; and

    • (d) be equipped with two handhold stanchions that are

      • (i) not less than 40 mm in diameter,

      • (ii) extended not less than 1.2 m above the top of the bulwark, and

      • (iii) fitted at the point of boarding or disembarking the vessel not less than 700 mm and not more than 800 mm apart.

  • (5) Every accommodation ladder and gangway must

    • (a) be maintained in a safe condition;

    • (b) be installed in a manner that reduces movement;

    • (c) be rigged and maintained in position to compensate for the movement of the vessel;

    • (d) be lighted as set out in Part 11;

    • e) if feasible, be adjusted in such a way that, whatever the state of the tide or the draught of the ship, the accommodation ladder’s angle or the gangway’s angle to the horizontal plane is not more than 40°;

    • (f) be provided with a lifebuoy that has an attached line and is strategically placed and ready for immediate use; and

    • (g) meet the requirements of one of the following standards:

      • (i) ISO Standard 5488:1979, Shipbuilding – Accommodation ladders,

      • (ii) CSA Standard CAN/CSA-S826 SERIES-01 (R2006), Ferry Boarding Facilities,

      • (iii) the applicable standard of a classification society that has been furnished with a certificate by the Minister of Transport under subsection 12(2) of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, or

      • (iv) if the ladder is part of pilot transfer equipment referred to in Regulation 23 of Chapter V of SOLAS, IMO Resolution A.889(21), Pilot Transfer Arrangements.

  • (6) Paragraph 5(g) does not apply to accommodation ladders or gangways constructed prior to the coming into force of these Regulations.

  • (7) Every means of access must be thoroughly examined by a qualified person at least once every year by a detailed visual examination supplemented, if necessary, by non-destructive testing, dismantling of components, measurement of corrosion, deformation and wear, evaluation of structural and moving parts under working conditions and any other means, in order to arrive at a reliable conclusion as to the safety of the means of access and to ensure that the following conditions are met:

    • (a) the loose gear used with it is in good working order;

    • (b) the parts that align and swivel under load are free;

    • (c) the mechanical, electrical, gearing, hydraulic and pneumatic systems are in good working order;

    • (d) parts are not affected by corrosion to the extent that they are no longer functional; and

    • (e) no defects or signs of permanent deformation are detected.

  • (8) If a means of access is being used by persons to board or disembark from a vessel, at least one end of it must be fastened securely and, if necessary to minimize its movement, an employee, other than an employee engaged in manoeuvring the vessel, must be stationed to assist the persons using it.

  • (9) A safety net must be fitted under every part of a ladder, accommodation ladder or gangway, except if

    • (a) the ladder or gangway and the approaches to it are constructed in a manner that makes the fitting of a safety net unnecessary; or

    • (b) the fitting of a safety net is not possible.

  • (10) Every safety net referred to in subsection (9) must

    • (a) extend on both sides of the ladder, accommodation ladder or gangway for a distance of 1.8 m;

    • (b) be kept taut at all times;

    • (c) if feasible, protect the entire length of the means of access; and

    • (d) meet the standards referred to in section 17.

  • (11) If a platform is provided at the bottom of a means of access, the platform must be flat and horizontal.

  • SOR/2019-246, s. 222
  • SOR/2021-122, s. 17

Date modified: