Section 26.3, subsection (7) states,

“The following additional requirements apply to a guardrail system that is made of wood:

1. The wood shall be spruce, pine or fir timber of construction grade quality or better and shall not have any visible defect affecting its load-carrying capacity.
2. The wood shall be free of sharp objects such as splinters and protruding nails.
3. The system shall have posts that are at least 38 mm by 89 mm, are securely fastened to the surface and are spaced at intervals of not more than 2.4 metres.
4. The top rail and the intermediate rail shall each be at least 38mm by 89 mm.

Section 26.3, subsection 7.1 states,

“If a guardrail system that is made of wood is constructed and installed so that it is capable of resisting all loads that it may be subjected to by a worker, the following do not apply:

1. The requirement in paragraph 2 of subsection (4) that the replacement material can withstand a point load of 450 newtons.
2. Subsections 5 and 6.

My opinion 

Many guardrail systems come in all shapes and sizes. Some are made of strong metal frames with screens or rails to protect workers. It would not be a stretch of the imagination to believe the manufacturers will meet the stress load force requirements as described in section 26.3, subsection (5).

The problem arises when contractors feel they give the standards lip service by creating a guardrail system, made of wood, because one is needed. The contractor dresses a system up, with no regard to the legislation, and finds out later that what they have currently in place is not adequate to the needs of the workplace, is unsafe and must be dismantled and rebuilt to the force requirements in section 26.3, subsection (5) as guidelines.

How simple life is when you follow the safety standards required by law.

Again, as an employer, if Fall Protection is required, pick up a copy of the Construction regulation 213/91 and review section 26.

It still amazes me that many an employer plans ineffectively when plotting the course for the company. Occupational health, safety and environmental processes need to be in place during the planning stage or preventable accidents may well occur with dire consequences to both the workforce as well as the company.

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Fall Protection’ and ‘Working at Heights’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259. We can also be reached at

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *