Chapter 10 - Elevated Work Surface Safety Rules

Health and Safety Training Manual: Section 2 – General Safety Rules

  1. pdfAll wall openings, open-sided floors or platforms 4 feet or more above an adjacent floor or ground must be guarded by a standard railing, which may require a toeboard.
  2. Fall protection is required wherever employees are working on unguarded surfaces more than 10 feet above a lower level, or at ANY height above dangerous equipment. Fall protection requires the use of lifelines, safety belts or harnesses, and lanyards.
  3. Employees working on roofs where the ground to eave height is greater than 10 feet shall be protected from falling from all unprotected sides and edges of the roof using one of the following:
    1. Motion stopping safety device
    2. Warning line system
    3. Safety monitoring system on roofs of 50 feet or less in width
  4. A warning line system consists of a rope, wire or chain supported 34 to 39 inches above the roof, flagged at least every 6 feet, located:
    1. 10 feet from the roof edge when mechanical equipment is being used; or
    2. 6 feet from the roof edge when mechanical equipment is not being used.
  5. A safety monitoring system makes use of a competent person whose only task is to monitor and warn other workers on the roof that they are in risk of falling.
  6. All roof openings or holes inside a work area shall be covered.


  1. Portable stepladders longer than 20 feet should not be used or available.
  2. Ladders come in three types:
    1. (industrial), 3 to 20 feet long, for heavy duty work;
    2. (commercial), 3 to 12 feet, for medium duty;
    3. (household), 3 to 6 feet, for light duty work.
  3. Portable stepladders must have a spreader or locking device to securely hold the front and back sections in the open position. Before use, be sure stepladders are open all the way and locked into safe position.
  4. All portable ladders should have insulating non-slip material supplied on the bottom of the rails.
  5. Portable single section rung ladders shall not be more than 30 feet long.
  6. Portable multiple section rung ladders shall not be more than 60 feet long.
  7. Rung ladders should be placed so that the distance from the wall to the foot of the ladder is one/fourth the length of the ladder. Set the ladder at an angle of about 75 degrees with the ground.
  8. Rung ladders are to be placed to prevent slipping, or they must be lashed in position. Do not place ladders on boxes, barrels, or other unstable bases, or lean ladders against movable objects.
  9. Don't use ladders in front of doors that open towards the ladder unless the door is blocked, locked, or guarded.
  10. Ladders with broken or missing steps, rungs, cleats, rails will be taken out of service.
  11. Ladders used to gain access to a roof should extend at least 3 feet above the point of support at eave, gutter, or roof line.
  12. Never work from the top rung or the second rung from the top of a straight ladder. Never work from the top plate of a step ladder.
  13. Do not use a metal ladder when working on or near electrical circuits, power lines, or live electrical apparatus.
  14. Face the ladder when climbing up and down, grasping the side rails or rungs with both hands.
  15. Avoid carrying heavy loads up or down ladders. Make use of hoisting equipment.
  16. Do not overreach; take time to move the ladder closer to the work. Do not straddle the space between the ladder and another object.
  17. Planks shall not be used on top of step ladders.

Aerial Lifts

  1. Aerial lift devices (boom platforms) will be operated only by trained employees.
  2. Test lift controls on boom trucks each day prior to use.
  3. When working from an aerial lift, a body belt must be worn and a lanyard attached to the boom or basket. Belting off to an adjacent pole, structure, or equipment is NOT permitted.
  4. Do not sit or climb on the edge of the aerial lift basket.
  5. Set brakes on boom trucks. When using outriggers, position on pads or on a solid surface.
  6. Don't move an occupied aerial lift truck with the boom elevated in a working position unless the equipment is specifically designed for such work.
  7. Any aerial lift vehicles exposed to traffic will have clearly visible flashing warning lights operating during use.
  8. Do not operate aerial lift devices with any portion of the lift closer than 10 feet from live overhead electric power lines.


  1. Scaffolding shall be used if solid footing or a safe ladder is not available.
  2. Caster brakes shall be set before an employee gets on a scaffold. If no brakes are available, another employee should be in position to secure the scaffold.
  3. Scaffolding shall be secured at intervals of 15 feet to a solid support. Securing will be by wire, cable, chain or rope.
  4. Ladders, boxes, etc. should not be set on scaffolds to increase working heights.
  5. Scaffolds shall not be moved with employee(s) or materials on the scaffold.
  6. Scaffolding shall not be moved until its height is reduced below 15 feet. Sufficient help shall be used to move the scaffold. A "watcher" shall be posted to watch for overhead obstructions as well as holes, etc., at ground level.
  7. Guardrails and toe boards are required on any scaffold over five feet high.
  8. Flooring shall be solid from side-to-side and secured in place with cleats.
  9. It is your responsibility to keep all tools and materials away from the edges of the scaffold and platform openings.
  10. Scaffolding over 50 feet high shall be inspected by a “competent person” as defined in OAR 1926.450.