Government of Canada / Gouvernement du Canada
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Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (SOR/86-304)

Regulations are current to 2021-04-05 and last amended on 2021-01-01. Previous Versions

PART IIITemporary Structures and Excavations


 This Part applies to portable ladders, temporary ramps and stairs, temporary elevated work bases used by employees and temporary elevated platforms used for materials.


 No employee shall use a temporary structure if it is feasible to use a permanent structure.

  • SOR/94-263, s. 9(F)
  • SOR/2019-246, s. 15

 No employee shall work on a temporary structure in rain, snow, hail or an electrical or wind storm that is likely to be hazardous to the health or safety of the employee, except if the work is required to remove a hazard or to rescue an employee.

  • SOR/2002-208, s. 8

 Tools, equipment and materials used on a temporary structure shall be arranged or secured in such a manner that they cannot be knocked off the structure accidentally.

  • SOR/88-632, s. 6(F)

 No employee shall use a temporary structure unless

  • (a) he has authority from his employer to use it; and

  • (b) he has been trained and instructed in its safe and proper use.

  • SOR/2019-246, s. 16(F)
  •  (1) Prior to a work shift, a qualified person shall make a visual safety inspection of every temporary structure to be used during that shift.

  • (2) Where an inspection made in accordance with subsection (1) reveals a defect or condition that adversely affects the structural integrity of a temporary structure, no employee shall use the temporary structure until the defect or condition is remedied.

  • SOR/2002-208, s. 9(F)


 Where a person or a vehicle may come into contact with a temporary structure, a person shall be positioned at the base of the temporary structure or a highly visible barricade shall be installed around it to prevent any such contact.

  • SOR/96-525, s. 9
  • SOR/2019-246, s. 17(F)

Guardrails and Toe Boards

  •  (1) Guardrails and toe boards shall be installed at every open edge of a platform of a temporary structure.

  • (2) The guardrails and toe boards referred to in subsection (1) shall meet the standards set out in sections 2.12 and 2.13.

  • SOR/2000-374, s. 3

Temporary Stairs, Ramps and Platforms

  •  (1) Subject to subsection 3.10(3), temporary stairs, ramps and platforms shall be designed, constructed and maintained to support any load that is likely to be imposed on them and to allow safe passage of persons and equipment on them.

  • (2) Temporary stairs shall have

    • (a) uniform steps in the same flight;

    • (b) a slope not exceeding 1.2 in 1; and

    • (c) a hand-rail that is not less than 900 mm and not more than 1 100 mm above the stair level on open sides including landings.

  • (3) Temporary ramps and platforms shall be

    • (a) securely fastened in place;

    • (b) braced if necessary to ensure their stability; and

    • (c) provided with cleats or surfaced in a manner that provides a safe footing for employees.

  • (4) A temporary ramp shall be so constructed that its slope does not exceed

    • (a) where the temporary ramp is installed in the stairwell of a building not exceeding two storeys in height, 1 in 1, if cross cleats are provided at regular intervals not exceeding 300 mm; and

    • (b) in any other case, 1 in 3.

  • SOR/2019-246, s. 18(F)


  •  (1) The erection, use, dismantling or removal of a scaffold shall be carried out by or under the supervision of a qualified person.

  • (2) The footings and supports of every scaffold shall be capable of carrying, without dangerous settling, all loads that are likely to be imposed on them.

  • (3) Every scaffold shall be capable of supporting at least four times the load that is likely to be imposed on it.

  • (4) The platform of every scaffold shall be at least 480 mm wide and securely fastened in place.

  • SOR/2019-246, s. 19(F)

Portable Ladders

  •  (1) Commercially manufactured portable ladders shall meet the standards set out in CSA Standard CAN3-Z11-M81, Portable Ladders, the English version of which is dated September, 1981, as amended to March, 1983 and the French version of which is dated August, 1982, as amended to June, 1983.

  • (2) Subject to subsection (3), every portable ladder shall, while being used,

    • (a) be placed on a firm footing; and

    • (b) be secured in such a manner that it cannot be dislodged accidentally from its position.

  • (3) Where, because of the nature of the location or of the work being done, a portable ladder cannot be securely fastened in place, it shall, while being used, be sloped so that the base of the ladder is not less than one-quarter and not more than one-third of the length of the ladder from a point directly below the top of the ladder and at the same level as the base.

  • (4) Every portable ladder that provides access from one level to another shall extend at least three rungs above the higher level.

  • (5) Metal or wire-bound portable ladders shall not be used if there is a risk that they could come into contact with any live electrical circuit or equipment.

  • (6) No employee shall work from any of the three top rungs of any single or extension portable ladder or from either of the two top steps of any portable step ladder.

  • SOR/88-632, s. 7(F)
  • SOR/2019-246, s. 20(E)


  •  (1) Before the commencement of work on a tunnel, excavation or trench, the employer shall mark the location of all underground pipes, cables and conduits in the area where the work is to be done.

  • (2) Where an excavation or trench constitutes a hazard to employees, a highly visible barricade shall be installed around it.

  • (3) In a tunnel or in an excavation or trench that is more than 1.4 m deep and whose sides are sloped at an angle of 45° or more to the horizontal

    • (a) the walls of the tunnel, excavation or trench, and

    • (b) the roof of the tunnel

    shall be supported by shoring and bracing that is installed as the tunnel, excavation or trench is being excavated.

  • (4) Subsection (3) does not apply in respect of a trench where the employer provides a system of shoring composed of steel plates and bracing, welded or bolted together, that can support the walls of the trench from the ground level to the trench bottom and can be moved along as work progresses.

  • (5) The installation and removal of the shoring and bracing referred to in subsection (3) shall be performed or supervised by a qualified person.

  • (6) Tools, machinery, timber, excavated materials or other objects shall not be placed within 1 m from the edge of an excavation or trench.

  • SOR/96-525, s. 10

Safety Nets

  •  (1) If there is a risk that tools, equipment or materials could fall onto or from a temporary structure, the employer shall provide a protective structure or a safety net to protect from injury any employee on or below the temporary structure.

  • (2) The design, construction and installation of a safety net referred to in subsection (1) shall meet the standards set out in ANSI Standard ANSI A10.11-1979, American National Standard for Safety Nets Used During Construction, Repair and Demolition Operations, dated August 7, 1979.

  • SOR/2019-246, s. 21(E)


 Every platform, hand-rail, guardrail and work area on a temporary structure used by an employee shall be kept free of accumulations of ice and snow while the temporary structure is in use.

 The floor of a temporary structure used by an employee shall be kept free of grease, oil or other slippery substance and of any material or object that may cause an employee to trip.

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