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

Regulations are current to 2023-11-14 and last amended on 2022-05-02. Previous Versions

PART 2Structures (continued)

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.


  •  (1) Unless otherwise permitted by this Part, a scaffold must meet the requirements set out in one or more of the following standards:

    • (a) ANSI/ASSE Standard A10.8-2001, Scaffolding Safety Requirements;

    • (b) ANSI/ALI Standard A14.7-2006, American National Standard for Mobile Ladder Stands and Mobile Ladder Stand Platforms; or

    • (c) CSA Standard CAN/CSA-Z271-98 (R2004), Safety Code for Suspended Elevating Platforms.

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

  • (3) If a scaffold is erected on an uneven surface, it must be provided with base plates that maintain its stability.

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

  • (5) Every scaffold must

    • (a) have a platform that is at least 500 mm wide and securely fastened in place; and

    • (b) have a flat and horizontal working surface.


  •  (1) Every stage must

    • (a) have a flat and horizontal working surface capable of supporting any load that is likely to be imposed on it; and

    • (b) be fitted with a means of holding the stage away from the working area.

  • (2) The supporting structure and the ropes or tackle supporting a stage must have a safety factor of not less than six.


  •  (1) Commercially manufactured portable ladders must meet the requirements set out in one or more of the following standards:

    • (a) CSA Standard CAN3-Z11-M81 (R2005), Portable Ladders;

    • (b) ANSI/ALI Standard A14.1 -2007, American National Standard for Ladders - Wood - Safety Requirements; or

    • (c) ANSI/ALI Standard A14.2 -2007, American National Standard for Ladders - Portable Metal - Safety Requirements.

  • (2) Every portable ladder, while being used, must be

    • (a) placed on a firm footing; and

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

  • (3) Every ladder, whether portable or permanently secured, must be positioned in a manner so that it is not necessary for a person to use the underside of the ladder.

  • (4) If a ladder provides access from one level to another, the ladder must extend, if feasible, at least three rungs above the higher level or, if it is not feasible, handholds must be provided.

  • (5) A metal or wire rope ladder must not be used if there is a hazard that it may come into contact with any live electrical circuit or electrical equipment.

  • (6) An employee must not 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 step ladder.

  • (7) A non-metallic portable ladder must not be painted.

  • (8) Every rope ladder must be of sufficient length to reach the intended landing point, unless the distance from the water to the point of access is more than 9 m, in which case a rope ladder is not to be used.

  • (9) The means of attaching a rope ladder to a vessel must be securely rigged and maintained in a safe condition.

  • (10) A rope ladder must be equipped with flat wooden treads — at regular intervals with treads wider than the width of the ladder — and be installed in a manner that reduces movement of the ladder.

  • (11) A rope ladder must not be used to provide access to places on shore except in case of emergency.

  • (12) When it is necessary to ensure safety, a person must be stationed at the bottom of a ladder to assist the person using the ladder.

Guardrails and Toe Boards

  •  (1) A raised structure or a deck opening that has a coaming height of less than 900 mm, from which there is a drop of more than 1.2 m, and to which an employee has access, must have a guardrail.

  • (2) Every guardrail must consist of

    • (a) a horizontal top rail or line not less than 900 mm and not more than 1100 mm above the base of the guardrail;

    • (b) a horizontal intermediate rail or line spaced midway between the top rail or line and the base of the guardrail; and

    • (c) supporting posts spaced not more than 3 m apart at their centres.

  • (3) Every guardrail must be designed to withstand the greater of

    • (a) the maximum load that is likely to be imposed on it, and

    • (b) a static load of not less than 890 N applied in any direction at any point on the top rail or line.

  • (4) If there is risk that tools or other objects could fall from a scaffold, a stage or any other raised structure onto a person, the employer must install

    • (a) a toe board that extends from the floor of the platform or other raised structure to a height of not less than 125 mm; or

    • (b) a solid or mesh panel that extends from the floor of the platform or other raised structure to a height of not less than 450 mm, if the tools or other objects are piled to a height that a toe board will not prevent them from falling.

  • (5) If the installation of a toe board is not feasible on a scaffold, a stage or any other raised structure, all tools or other objects that could fall on a person must be

    • (a) tied in a manner that will protect any persons beneath, if the tools or other objects fall; or

    • (b) placed in a way that they will be caught by a safety net positioned so as to protect from injury any persons on or below the raised area, if the tools or the other objects fall.

Safety Nets

 The design, construction and installation of a safety net referred to in subsection 12(9), paragraphs 16(5)(b) and 147(1)(b) must meet the standards set out in ANSI/ASSE Standard A10.11-1989 (R1998), Safety Requirements for Safety Nets.

Housekeeping and Maintenance

  •  (1) If feasible, the working surface used by an employee must be kept free of grease, oil or any other slippery substance and of any material or object that may create a hazard to an employee.

  • (2) Every work area used by an employee must be kept free of accumulations of ice and snow while the area is in use.

PART 3Crew Accommodation


  •  (1) This Part applies to crew accommodation.

  • (2) The following provisions do not apply in respect of a day vessel:

    • (a) sections 20 to 40;

    • (b) sections 42 to 45; and

    • (c) sections 51 to 54.

  • (3) The following provisions do not apply in respect of a vessel of less than 200 gross tonnage, engaged in inland voyages or constructed before the day on which the MLC 2006 comes into force in Canada:

    • (a) sections 20 to 23;

    • (b) subsection 24(2);

    • (c) sections 26 to 29;

    • (d) subsections 30(2) to (4);

    • (e) section 31;

    • (f) sections 33 to 35;

    • (g) sections 38 to 40;

    • (h) sections 42 and 43;

    • (i) sections 48 to 55;

    • (j) subsection 56(2); and

    • (k) subsection 56(4).

  • (3.1) For the purposes of subsection (3), an inland voyage includes a sheltered waters voyage as defined in section 1 of the Vessel Safety Certificates Regulations if the voyage is within the waters described in paragraph (a) or (b) of the definition inland voyage of section 1 of those Regulations.

  • (4) For the purpose of this section, a vessel is deemed constructed on the earlier of

    • (a) the day on which its keel is laid, and

    • (b) the day on which construction identifiable with a specific vessel begins.

  • (5) The authorized representative, as defined in section 2 of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, of a Canadian vessel that is carrying 15 or more crew members must ensure that there is separate hospital accommodation on board the vessel if it is engaged on one of the following types of voyage of more than three days duration:

    • (a) an unlimited voyage;

    • (b) a near coastal voyage, Class 1; or

    • (c) an international voyage, other than an inland voyage.


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