Canadian Contractor

Alec Caldwell   

Rules for the use of stilts in residential construction in Ontario

Canadian Contractor Commercial risk

Back in the day, stilts were banned in my jurisdiction. Some drywallers and insulation guys would get around this ban by using rollerblades. Crazy stuff.

As a home renovation contractor, can you legally clomp around on stilts if you’re doing drywalling or insulation, etc.?

I’ve been asked this question a number of times recently and it took my memory back to around 1988 when, to the best of my knowledge back then, stilts were outright banned in my jurisdiction (the Toronto area).

Drywallers, tapers, insulation guys and some other trades were forced to come up with other, probably more dangerous, ways to get a height advantage if they wanted to avoid full-out scaffolding. Someone even pushed rollerblades (!) on job sites I visited, at that time, to avoid the ban on stilts. This obviously was a massive safety issue. But remember, these guys were paid on production. They had to keep up the pace to keep the food coming to their families’ tables.

A lot has changed since then and, thankfully, here in Ontario stilts can now be used by construction workers in residential units and residential common areas only. They are still not allowed on commercial projects. 

On residential units or in home renovations, they can be used for the following purposes:

Drywall finishing work, installation of insulation and vapor barriers. Stilts cannot be used on a scaffold or to climb up or down stairs.

The stilts should be commercially manufactured, made of unpainted metal, have a non-slip surface on the bottom of each base plate, be in good working condition and be suitable for their intended use

The maximum height of the stilts is 76 cm – measured from the floor to the top of the foot plate of each stilt.

Again, all normal safety conditions have to be in place beforehand like:

The work surface is made of rigid material, it is either level or does not have a slope of more than 3 per cent. All openings on the work surface are adequately covered or guarded. All open sides of the work surface are adequately guarded and the work surface is free of debris or anything else that may be a hazard to a worker on stilts.

Read the full rules and regulations under regulations on Stilts use under O. Reg. 443/09, s. 4.

CARAHS training and information can help reduce your risk of fines, job site closures and prosecution under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Passion – Commitment – CARAHS

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  1. […] painting and drywall plastering contractors are using stilts for a decade, these are legally banned in many places (like California, Ontario, […]

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