Guardrails

Guardrails are a common and convenient way to protect employees from falls. They can be used to guard walking surfaces, openings, roof edges, catwalks and also from edges on scaffolds, suspended work platforms, forklift platforms, elevating work platforms and other working surfaces.

Guardrails should be installed as close to the open edge as possible. An effective guardrail should consist of:

  • A top rail between 900 mm and 1.07 metres high, fastened to the top or the inside of the vertical supporting post.
  • A mid-rail, fastened to the inside of the vertical supporting post, mid-way between the top rail and the floor.
  • A toeboard that is a minimum of 127 mm high, fastened to the inside of the vertical supporting posts, and with a space not more than 6 mm between the bottom of the toeboard and the floor.
  • Vertical supporting posts 2.4 m apart maximum [or 3m on scaffolding], and adequately fastened to the structure.
  • Sufficient strength and rigidity to support loads which may be imposed on it, with the following minimums:
    • 675 N (150 lbs) in any direction, at any point along the top rail
    • 450N (100lbs) in any direction, at any point along the intermediate rail
    • 900 N in any direction, at any point along the top rail, intermediate rail and
    • toeboard if the guardrail is used on a surface that is sloped more than 3 in 12 and less than 6 in 12.

A guardrail can be pre-engineered or, when fabricated, made of the materials and to the specifications as given in the table.

If made of
  Wood Metal Pipe Angle iron Wire Rope
Top Rail, vertical supporting posts At least 50 mm x 100 mm, these measures being nominal

No. 2 grade or better SPF

Not be painted other than by a transparent protective coating
At least 40 mm in diameter At least 40 mm x 40 mm by 5 mm Top and intermediate rail - at least 10 mm in diameter, be attached to welded fastening on the vertical supporting posts with metal clips and be distinguishable from the background Vertical supporting posts - made of steel of at least 40 mm in diameter or of a material of equivalent strength
Intermediate rail At least 50 mm x 100 mm, these measures being nominal

No. 2 grade or better SPF

Not be painted other than by a transparent protective coating
At least 25 mm diameter At least 32 mm x 32 mm x 3 mm

As an employer, you must:

  • Ensure that an opening for passage through a guardrail is equipped with a barrier or gate that may be removed temporarily to permit passage.
  • Take adequate precautions when a guardrail is removed in order for work to be done and not leave the area unguarded.
  • Is visually inspected before each shift.
  • If manufactured guardrails, follows manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Not permit the use of guardrails on surface that has slopes exceeding 6 in 12.
  • Ensure that a guardrail or safety fence manufactured as part of a hoist used to raise materials to a roof, are installed in the perimeter travel areas on a roof near the hoist areas and the dumping areas.

As an employee, you must:

  • Replace the guardrail before leaving the area.

Note:

If an employee is engaged in perimeter work and a guardrail is used as the method of fall-protection, a toeboard is not required.

General Regulation - Occupational Health and Safety Act
N.B. Reg. 91-191

Part VII PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

Section 49.1

49.1(1) An owner of a place of employment, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure that the components of a fall-protection system

(a) are designed in accordance with good engineering practices,

(b) are erected, installed, assembled, used, handled, stored, adjusted, maintained, repaired and dismantled in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications, and

(c) meet the requirements of the applicable standards.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(c), the following CSA standards apply:

(a) Z259.1-05 , "Body Belts and Saddles for Work Positioning and Travel Restraint" or Z259.1-95 , "Safety Belts and Lanyards";

(b) Z259.2.1-98 , "Fall-arresters, Vertical life lines, and Rails" or Z259.2-M1979 , "Fall-arresting Devices, Personnel Lowering Devices and Life Lines", if the fall-arrester complies with Z259.2-M1979 it must be modified to make the fall-arrester panic proof;

(c) Z259.2.2-98 , "Self-Retracting Devices for Personal Fall-Arrest Systems", or equivalent;

(d) Z259.2.3-99 , "Descent Control Devices", or equivalent;

(e) Z259.10-06 , "Full Body Harnesses" or Z259.10- M90, "Full Body Harness";

(f) Z259.11-05 , "Energy Absorbers and Lanyards" or Z259.11-M92, "Shock Absorbers for Personal Fall- Arrest Systems";

(g) Z259.12-01 , "Connecting Components for Personal Fall-Arrest Systems", or equivalent;

(h) Z259.14-01 , "Fall Restricting Equipment for Wood Pole Climbing", or equivalent;

(i) Z259.13-04 , "Flexible Horizontal Life Line Systems"; and

[N.B. Reg. 2010-159, s. 5]

Section 50

50. (1) An owner of a place of employment, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure that employees use fall-protection systems in following order of precedence:

(a) a guardrail, a travel restraint system or a fall restricting system; or

(b) a fall-arresting system.

(2) Despite subsection (1), the use of a guardrail is not permitted on a surface that has a slope exceeding 6 in 12.

(3) Despite subsection (1), where a fall-protection system is impractical an owner of a place of employment, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure an employee uses a control zone.

(4) Despite subsection (3), use of a control zone is not permitted on a working surface where the slope of the surface exceeds 3 in 12 or for scaffolds.

(5) This section does not apply where a firefighter is engaged in structural fire-fighting or rescue.

[N.B. Reg. 97-121, s. 12; 2010-159, s. 6]

Section 50.4

50.4 (1) An owner of a place of employment, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure that each component of a fall-protection system is inspected as follows to determine whether there are any defective or inadequate components:

(a) visually by the employee before use during a shift; and

(b) by a competent person before initial use and periodically as recommended by the manufacturer, installer or an engineer.

(2) If the inspection reveals a defect or inadequacy, no one shall use the fall-protection system and no owner of a place of employment, employer or contractor shall permit its use until the defect or inadequacy has been eliminated.

(3) An owner of a place of employment, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure that all components of a fall-protection system are compatible with one another, the work environment and the type of work being done.

[N.B. Reg. 2010-159, s. 7]

Part X CONSTRUCTION, TRAFFIC AND BUILDING SAFETY

Section 97 Guardrails

97. (1) A guardrail shall

(a) be made of one of the following materials:

(i) if made of wood,

(A) the top rail, vertical supporting posts and intermediate rail shall be constructed of at least 50 mm × 100 mm No. 2 grade or better SPF, these measures being nominal, and

(B) shall not be painted other than by a transparent protective coating,

(ii) if made of metal pipe,

(A) the top rail and vertical supporting posts shall be at least 40 mm in diameter, and

(B) the intermediate rail shall be at least 25 mm diameter,

(iii) if made of angle iron,

(A) the top rail and vertical supporting posts shall be at least 40 mm × 40 mm by 5 mm, and

(B) the intermediate rail shall be at least 32 mm × 32 mm × 3 mm, or

(iv) if made of wire rope,

(A) the vertical supporting posts shall be made of steel of at least 40 mm in diameter or of a material of equivalent strength, and

(B) the top rail and intermediate rail shall be at least 10 mm in diameter, be attached to a welded fastening on the vertical supporting posts with metal clips to prevent unnecessary sagging and be easily distinguishable from the background; or

(b) be pre-engineered.

(2) A guardrail shall

(a) have a height of not less than 900 mm or more than 1.07 m from the floor level,

(b) have a toeboard which

(i) is at least 127 mm high,

(ii) is fastened to the inside of the vertical supporting posts, and

(iii) has a space of not more than 6 mm between the bottom of the toeboard and the floor,

(c) have vertical supporting posts not more than 2.4 m apart along its entire length unless otherwise specified in manufacturer's specifications, and

(d) have vertical supporting posts not more than 3 m apart along its entire length if the guardrail is used on scaffolding.

(3) The vertical supporting posts referred to in paragraphs 2(c) and (d) shall be adequately fastened to the structure to support the loads imposed upon it.

(4) Unless the guardrail is a pre-engineered guardrail, the top rail shall be fastened to the top or inside of the vertical supporting posts and the intermediate rail shall be fastened to the inside of the vertical supporting posts midway between the top rail and the floor level.

(5) A guardrail shall be made of materials with sufficient strength and rigidity to support loads with the following minimums:

(a) 675 N in any direction, at any point along the top rail;

(b) 450 N in any direction, at any point along the intermediate rail; and

(c) 900 N in any direction, at any point along the top rail, intermediate rail and toeboard if the guardrail is used on a surface that is sloped more than 3 in 12 and less than 6 in 12.

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, s. 33; 2010-159, s. 14]

98. Repealed. [N.B. Reg. 2010-159, s. 15]

Section 99

99. An owner of a place of employment, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure that an opening for passage through a guardrail is equipped with a barrier or gate that may be removed temporarily to permit passage.

[N.B. Reg. 2010-159, s. 16]

Section 100

100. (1) Where a guardrail is removed in order for work to be done, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure that

(a) adequate precautions are taken to ensure the safety of the employee doing the work and any other employee, and

(b) the area is not left unguarded.

(2) An employee who removes a guardrail in order to do work shall replace the guardrail before leaving the area.

Section 106.1

106.1 (1) In this section "perimeter work" means the work that must be performed at the edge of the roof.

(2) Despite paragraph 97(2)(b), where an employee is engaged in perimeter work and a guardrail is used as the method of fall-protection, a toeboard is not required.

[N.B. Reg. 96-60, s. 3; 2010-159, s. 19]

107. Repealed. [N.B. Reg. 96-60, s. 4]

108. Repealed. [N.B. Reg. 96-60, s. 5]

Section 110

110. An employer shall ensure that guardrails, or a safety fence manufactured as part of a hoist, are installed in perimeter travel areas on a roof near the hoist areas and the dumping areas.

[N.B. Reg. 96-60, s. 6]