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Maritime Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (SOR/2010-120)

Regulations are current to 2021-06-28 and last amended on 2021-06-23. Previous Versions

PART 1General (continued)

Interpretation (continued)

 For the purpose of interpreting any standard incorporated by reference into these Regulations, the use of “should” is to be read as denoting an obligation.


 These Regulations apply to any person who is not an employee but who performs for an employer to which these Regulations apply activities whose primary purpose is to enable the person to acquire knowledge or experience, and to the employer, as if that person were an employee of the employer, and every provision of these Regulations must be read accordingly.

  • SOR/2015-211, s. 4

 These Regulations apply to employees employed

  • (a) on vessels registered in Canada;

  • (b) on uncommissioned vessels of Her Majesty in right of Canada; and

  • (c) in the loading or unloading of vessels.


  • SOR/2019-246, s. 217
  •  (1) If an employer is required by section 125 or 125.1 of the Act to the employer must keep and maintain the record and make it readily available for examination by the Minister, the policy committee or, if there is no policy committee, the work place committee or the health and safety representative for the vessel to which it applies.

  • (2) To comply with subsection (1), the employer may use any recording system, including electronic records, if

    • (a) measures are taken to ensure that the records contained in the recording systems are protected, by electronic or other means, against inadvertent loss or destruction and against tampering; and

    • (b) a copy of the records contained in the recording systems can be printed on paper and provided on reasonable notice at the request of the Minister.

Inconsistent Provisions

 In the event of an inconsistency between any standard incorporated by reference in these Regulations and any other provision of these Regulations, that other provision must prevail to the extent of the inconsistency.

Incorporation by Reference

 Any reference to a standard incorporated by reference in these Regulations is a reference to the standard, as amended from time to time.

Health and Safety

  •  (1) Every employer must

    • (a) arrange that work in a work area is carried out in a manner that does not endanger the health or safety of any person who is engaged or working in that area or in connection with the work; and

    • (b) adopt and carry out appropriate procedures and techniques designed or intended to prevent or reduce the risk of employment injury in the operation or carrying out of the work.

  • (2) Crew accommodation must meet the requirements of the related provisions on health and safety protection and accident prevention, with respect to preventing the risk of exposure to hazardous levels of noise and vibration and other ambient factors and chemicals on board vessels, and provide an acceptable occupational and on-board living environment for employees.

  • (3) Every employer or owner must ensure that a qualified person

    • (a) is in charge in every work area; and

    • (b) inspects every work area or structure and every item of machinery or equipment to ascertain that safe working conditions are maintained.

  • (4) A person must not use any structure, machinery or equipment that has been reassembled after being dismantled, in whole or in part, until it has been examined by a qualified person and found to be in a safe condition.

PART 2Structures


 The following definitions apply in this Part.

accommodation ladder

accommodation ladder means a means of access to and egress from a vessel that may include platforms on different levels with ladders between the platforms and that

  • (a) is suspended by a supporting structure of chains or steel wire ropes from its lowest suspension point;

  • (b) is hinged at its top; and

  • (c) can be moved so that the lowest platform is accessible from shore. (échelle de coupée)


scaffold means a working platform supported from below. (échafaudage)


stage means a working platform supported from above. (plate-forme suspendue)


 This Part applies to permanent and temporary structures, including means of access, gangways, scaffolds, stages, ladders, guardrails, toe boards and safety nets.

Design and Construction

 The employer must ensure that the design and construction of every structure on a vessel meets the applicable requirements set out in one or more of the following regulations:

Temporary Structure

  •  (1) An employee must not use a temporary structure on a vessel if it is feasible to use a permanent structure.

  • (2) An employee must not use a temporary structure unless

    • (a) they have been trained and instructed in its safe and proper use; and

    • (b) they have their employer’s authority to use it.

  • (3) Tools, equipment and materials used on a temporary structure must be arranged or secured in a manner that they cannot be knocked off the structure accidentally.

  • (4) A qualified person must make a visual inspection of the temporary structure before each work period in which a temporary structure is used by an employee.

  • (5) When a temporary structure is used on a vessel and that structure may be affected by the ingress and egress of the tide, a qualified person must make a visual inspection of the structure at the end of each tide cycle.

  • (6) If the inspection reveals a defect or condition that adversely affects the structural integrity or safe use of a temporary structure, a person must not use the structure until the defect or condition is remedied.

Means of Access

  •  (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.

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