Regulation - LGIC

Temporary Stairs Regulatory Amendment Proposal

Regulation Number(s):
O. Reg. 213/91
Bill or Act:
Occupational Health and Safety Act
Summary of Proposal:
The Ministry of Labour (the ministry) is proposing to clarify existing requirements for temporary stairs as set out in the Construction Projects regulation (O. Reg. 213/91) under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). O. Reg. 213/91 sets out requirements that protect the health and safety of Ontarians who work in the construction sector.
On residential construction sites, temporary stairs are often put in place to facilitate access and egress to parts of a construction project before permanent stairs can be built. When these stairs are not installed, improperly installed or poorly designed, it can be hazardous for workers, inspectors, and other authorized visitors to the site.
Falls from height contribute to a significant proportion of injuries and fatalities experienced in Ontario workplaces. Between 2009 and 2016 there were 92 fatal falls from heights. Where the height of the fall was available, 64% of the fall fatalities were due to falls from heights of 6 meters or less, which correspond to heights of one to two storeys.
Data also shows that a fall from a ladder of three metres or less (the standard one-storey floor height) is common and can result in death depending on what part of the body is affected. Falls from ladders are also a big factor in serious injuries. Of the 92 fatal falls, "unsafe ladder use" (i.e., ladder used inappropriately) was a contributing factor in 16 of the 92 fatalities (17%). The majority (56%) of the fatalities which occurred due to unsafe ladder use took place on construction sites.
These are the types of injuries or fatalities that could occur due to faulty or missing temporary stairs, or the improper use of ladders as a means of access and egress for an underground basement when temporary stairs would be a safer alternative.
This proposal would amend current temporary stairs provisions by:
• Clarifying where temporary stairs should start and end (i.e. requiring temporary stairs in underground levels).
• Identifying specific situations where the installation of temporary stairs may not be possible.
• Revising width dimensions to accommodate for movement of large equipment.
The ministry is seeking your feedback on these proposed changes and the assessment of the impact of the changes outlined in the Regulatory Impact Analysis. Your feedback will be considered during the development of possible amendments.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
Since this proposal largely serves to clarify and modernize existing regulatory requirements, there is a minimal cost impact on businesses. This proposal may impact up to 130,627 construction businesses. Due to the unpredictable nature of the construction sector, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what proportion of these businesses will be impacted, how many times in a year any of these businesses may be impacted, and how many additional temporary stairs may be required on a particular construction project (i.e. high-rise commercial vs. residential) as a result of these changes.
Evidence indicates that the majority of construction employers have already been installing temporary stairs in underground levels of construction projects. As a result, the incremental cost associated with installing temporary stairs in underground levels are expected to be limited to projects that are not already employing this practice.
Temporary stairs are usually made on-site from the same wood as house framing wood (i.e., construction-grade wood such as spruce, pine, or fir), which tends to be less expensive than getting factory-built/prefabricated stairs. The cost for an eastern spruce-pine-fir 2x4 in Canadian dollars per thousand board feet was estimated at $485 on January 25, 2019. Based on this cost for an eastern spruce-pine-fir 2x4, the volume of lumber needed for a standard one-storey floor staircase, of 610 mm width would be approximately $50, in addition to labour costs for the installation of these temporary stairs. The incremental volumetric cost of increasing tread widths from 500 mm to 610 mm is $6.25 per one-storey floor staircase.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
19-MOL006
Posting Date:
March 7, 2019
Comments Due Date:
April 25, 2019
Contact Address:
Temporary Stairs Regulatory Amendment Proposal
Health and Safety Policy Branch
Ministry of Labour
400 University Avenue, 12th Floor
Toronto ON M7A 1T7