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Part 4 General Conditions

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Work Area Guards and Handrails

4.54 Definitions

In sections 4.54 to 4.63

"guard" means a protective barrier around an opening in a floor or along the open sides of stairs or a ramp, landing, balcony, mezzanine, raised walkway or any other area to prevent a fall to a lower level, or inadvertent entry into a dangerous area;

"guardrail" means a guard consisting of a top rail 102 cm to 112 cm (40 in to 44 in) above the work surface, and a midrail located approximately midway between the underside of the top rail and the top of the toeboard, if one is provided, or the work surface if no toeboard is provided.

       [Amended by B.C. Reg. 312/2010, effective February 1, 2011.]

4.55 Guardrail locations

An area accessible to workers must have guards or guardrails installed in any of the following circumstances:

(a) if a raised floor, open-sided floor, mezzanine, gallery, balcony, work platform, ramp, walkway, or runway is 122 cm (4 ft) or more above the adjacent floor or grade level;

(b) on both sides of any walkway over or adjacent to any substance which is a hazard if a worker fell in, or on it, or which is over machinery or work areas;

(c) around the perimeter of any open container or containment area such as an open vat, bin, tank or pit which is 122 cm (4 ft) or more in depth and which has sides that do not extend at least as high as required for a guardrail above the adjacent grade or work surface;

(d) if a stairway ends in direct proximity to dangerous traffic or other hazard to prevent inadvertent entry into the dangerous area.

4.56 Exceptions

Section 4.55 does not apply

(a) to the front edge of a loading dock or to the viewing edge of a performance stage, and to parts of the scenic units which will be visible to the audience during a rehearsal or performance, provided effective measures are taken to ensure that workers are protected from injury, or

(b) during the construction, demolition, renovation or modification of a work area provided that

(i) access is restricted only to the workers involved in the activity, and

(ii) the requirements of Part 11 (Fall Protection) are followed.

4.57 Elevated workers

If a worker is employed on stilts or work platforms, or is otherwise elevated above the floor, and the effective height of guardrails, walls, or barricades is thus reduced to less than the height specified in section 4.54, additional guardrails must be installed or a personal fall protection system must be used in accordance with the relevant requirements contained in Part 11 (Fall Protection).

4.58 Specifications for guards and guardrails

(1) Guards in a building must be appropriate for the use and occupancy of the area.

(2) Guards in areas not part of a building must meet the applicable criteria of subsections (3) to (5), or other standard acceptable to the Board.

(3) Unless otherwise permitted by subsections (4) and (4.1), guardrails must be installed to withstand a load applied horizontally and normal to the span of the rail, of 550 N (125 lbs) applied at any point along the rail, and a vertical, downward load of 1.5 kN per m (100 lbs per ft) along the top rail, but the horizontal and vertical loads need not be considered to act simultaneously.

(4) Guardrails temporarily installed during the construction, demolition, maintenance or renovation of a work area must be able to withstand a load of 550 N (125 lbs.) applied perpendicular to the span in a horizontal or vertically downward direction at any point on the top rail, or be built to the criteria of subsection (5).

(4.1) If part or all of the top rail or a midrail of a guardrail that is temporarily installed during the construction, demolition, maintenance or renovation of a work area is made of fibre rope, wire rope, chain or other non-rigid material, that part of the guardrail must meet the requirements of WorkSafeBC Standard - Guardrails using rope or other non-rigid material, as set out in Schedule 4-A to this Part.

(5) Unless designed by a professional engineer, temporary wooden guardrails on floors and platforms must meet the following criteria:

(a) posts must be spaced not more than 2.4 m (8 ft) apart, except a scaffold may have posts spaced not more than 3 m (10 ft) apart;

(b) wooden top rails must be at least 38 mm x 89 mm (2 in x 4 in nominal) lumber for a span of up to 2.4 m between supports, and at least 38 mm x 140 mm (2 in x 6 in nominal) lumber for a span of 2.4 m to 3 m between supports;

(c) wooden midrails must be 19 mm x 140 mm (1 in x 6 in nominal) or 38 mm x 89 mm (2 in x 4 in nominal) lumber;

(d) wooden rails must be secured to the tops or inner sides of their vertical supports;

(e) wooden guardrail posts must be at least 38 mm x 89 mm (2 in x 4 in nominal) lumber, and must be installed with the narrow dimension facing the open edge;

(f) plastic or wire mesh fencing of adequate strength may be used in place of the midrail, but posts and top rails must comply with the requirements of this section and such fencing must be secured in place.

       [Amended by B.C. Reg. 312/2003, effective October 29, 2003.]

        [Amended by B.C. Reg. 312/2010, effective February 1, 2011.]

4.58.1 Temporary removal of guardrails

(1) If a guardrail must be removed to accommodate work,

(a) only that portion of the guardrail necessary to allow the work to be done may be removed, and

(b) workers exposed to a fall hazard must be protected by another fall protection system when the guardrail is absent.

(2) The guardrail must be replaced

(a) when the unguarded area is left unattended, and

(b) after the work is completed if the circumstances still require guardrails.

       [Enacted by B.C. Reg. 420/2004, effective January 1, 2005.]

4.59 Floor and roof openings

(1) A pit or other opening in a floor, walkway, roof or other area accessible to workers, which is a danger to workers, must be securely covered with a cover of adequate size and strength or guarded by fixed or movable guardrails, which must be identified as such and kept in place except when necessarily removed to work in the opening or pit.

(2) If compliance with subsection (1) is not practicable for a vehicle service pit, the area around the perimeter of the pit must be marked in a high visibility colour extending back at least 1 m (3.3 ft) from the edge of the pit, and the marking coating or material must provide a skid resistant surface.

(3) Subsection (1) does not apply to a trap door in a performance stage or scenic unit that will be visible to the audience during a rehearsal or performance, provided that effective measures are taken to protect performers and other workers from injury.

(4) If a worker must enter an area not normally accessible and that has openings that are a danger, such openings must be guarded or personal fall protection must be used while the worker is in the area.

       [Amended by B.C. Reg. 312/2003, effective October 29, 2003.]

4.60 Toeboards

(1) Floor openings, elevated walkways and platforms must have toeboards if there is a danger from tools, materials, equipment and debris falling off the edge of the work surface, or there is a danger of slipping off the work surface due to the environment or work practices being used.

(2) The top of a toeboard must be at least 10 cm (4 in) above the floor or platform, and the space between the bottom of the toeboard and the floor or platform must not exceed 13 mm (1/2 in).

(3) If material is stacked or stored on a platform or walkway, or near a floor opening, toeboards must be increased in height or solid or mesh panels of appropriate height must be installed to prevent the material from falling.

(4) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to a walkway or a platform that is on a performance stage or scenic unit and will be visible to the audience during a rehearsal or performance, provided that effective measures are taken to protect performers and other workers from injury.

4.61 Walkways

Elevated walkways must be at least 50 cm (20 in) wide, and safe access to walkways must be provided by means of stairs, ramps or fixed ladders.

4.62 Handrails on stairways

(1) Stairs with more than 4 risers must have continuous handrails on

(a) any open side of the stairway,

(b) one side of enclosed stairways 112 cm (44 in) or less in width, and

(c) both sides of enclosed stairways over 112 cm (44 in) wide.

(2) The top of a handrail must be 76 cm to 92 cm (30 in to 36 in) above the stair tread, measured vertically from the nose of the tread, and the height must not vary on any flight or succession of flights of stairs.

(3) A handrail on an open side of a stairway must have a midrail located approximately midway between the top of the handrail and the nose of the stair tread.

(4) A handrail must be able to withstand a load of 1.3 kN (300 lbs) applied vertically or horizontally at any point along the handrail.

4.63 Vehicle travel areas

A curb must be installed, where practicable, whenever there is a danger of a vehicle or other equipment running off the edge of an elevated area.

Note: It is recommended the height of a curb be a minimum of 1/4 the outside tire diameter for the tires of the largest machine regularly using the area. Curbs should be of substantial construction, and while it may be impracticable to contain large machines, a well-constructed curb of the recommended height will provide warning to the operator that the machine is near the edge.

SCHEDULE 4 - A
(section 4.58 [specifications for guards and guardrails])
WORKSAFEBC STANDARD - GUARDRAILS USING ROPE OR OTHER NON-RIGID MATERIAL
1 Scope

This standard sets out the minimum requirements for the design and use of a guardrail system temporarily installed in a workplace and made using a rope rail for part or all of the top rail or midrail of the guardrail system.

2 Definitions

In this standard:

"fall protection system" has the same meaning as in section 11.1 of this regulation;

"guardrail" has the same meaning as in section 4.54 of this regulation;

"rope rail" means a rail made of fibre rope, wire rope, chain or other non-rigid material.

3 Performance and material requirements

(1) A rope rail must be able to withstand a load of 550 N (125 lb.) applied in any direction at any point on the rope rail.

(2) A guardrail system using a rope rail must be installed with sufficient setback from the outer face of the parapet, the floor opening or the open edge of the floor or work surface, as the case may be, or from any other hazard, such that when the rope rail is subjected to a horizontal load of 550 N (125 lb.) applied at any point, the rope rail will not deflect

(a) past the outer face of the parapet,

(b) past the edge of the floor opening,

(c) past the open edge of the floor or work surface, or

(d) into the hazard.

(3) A rope rail must be made of a material that will remain stable and functional, having regard to the following:

(a) climatic conditions;

(b) exposure to

(i) high temperature sources, or

(ii) by-products of high temperature processes such as welding or cutting;

(c) chemical exposures that may occur due to

(i) the location of the workplace where the guardrail system is to be installed, or

(ii) the work that will be taking place around or near the guardrail system.

(4) A rope rail must not be made of natural fibre rope or other material relying on natural fibre for tensile strength.

4 Engineering requirements

(1) A rope rail must be installed and used in accordance with written instructions from a professional engineer.

(2) The written instructions required by subsection (1) must include the following:

(a) the seal and signature of the professional engineer providing the written instructions;

(b) the address of and location in the workplace where the guardrail system is to be used;

(c) the name of each employer, prime contractor or owner for whom the written instructions were prepared;

(d) a description of the guardrail system or an illustration for its configuration;

(e) details for the connection of the rope rail to supports and anchors;

(f) details on the size and grade of rope and all required rigging hardware to be used;

(g) details for corner posts and points where rope terminations occur;

(h) the maximum span permitted between supports;

(i) the tension required in the rope and the means to achieve it;

(j) the means for testing rope tension during inspections of the system.

(3) The written instructions for a guardrail system intended for use at a number of workplaces of similar design and construction must include the following:

(a) the seal and signature of the professional engineer providing the written instructions;

(b) a description of the type of structure where the guardrail system may be used;

(c) the name of each employer, prime contractor or owner for whom the written instructions were prepared;

(d) a description of the guardrail system or an illustration for its configuration;

(e) details for the connection of the rope rail to supports and anchors;

(f) details on the size and grade of rope and all required rigging hardware to be used;

(g) details for corner posts and points where rope terminations occur;

(h) the maximum span permitted between supports;

(i) the tension required in the rope and the means to achieve it;

(j) the means for testing rope tension during inspections of the system.

(4) The written instructions must be available at the workplace when the guardrail system is being installed and while the rope rail is in place.

5 Installation and use requirements

(1) A worker involved in the installation, maintenance or removal of a guardrail system described in section 1 [scope] must use a fall protection system if required by Part 11 [Fall Protection] of this regulation.

(2) A rope rail meeting this standard is intended for use only as a guardrail and must not be used as a horizontal lifeline unless a professional engineer specifically authorizes such use and provides written instructions for such use.

(3) If the lack of visibility of a rope rail is a hazard, high visibility coloured markers or flagging must be installed on the top rail of the guardrail system at intervals not exceeding 2 m (6.5 ft.)

(4) Once installation of a guardrail system described in section 1 [scope] is complete and before the system is relied on as the fall protection system for the work area, the employer must ensure the following:

(a) the rope rail and the guardrail system is inspected by a qualified person;

(b) the qualified person is satisfied that the installation conforms to the written instructions of the professional engineer required by section 4 of this Schedule;

(c) the qualified person provides the employer with a written record of the inspection that states that the guardrail system is properly installed;

(d) a copy of the record referred to in paragraph (c) is available at the workplace where the guardrail system is installed.

(5) In addition to the inspection required by subsection (4), the employer must ensure that the rope rail and the guardrail system is inspected by a qualified person at the start of each work shift to verify that

(a) the rope rail meets the tension requirements of section 3 (1) and (2) of this Schedule, and

(b) the guardrail system conforms to the written instructions referred to in subsection (4) (b) of this section.

(6) If, on inspection under subsection (5) or at any other time, the qualified person or any other person finds that

(a) the rope rail does not meet the tension requirements referred to in subsection (5), or

(b) the guardrail system does not conform to the written instructions referred to in subsection (4) (b), no work is to take place in the affected area until the deficiency is corrected or the workers in the area are protected by an alternative fall protection system meeting the requirements of Part 11 [Fall Protection] of this regulation.

        [Enacted by B.C. Reg. 312/2010, effective February 1, 2011.]

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