Worker Safety and OSHA Ladder Guidelines
Workplace safety is priority no matter the industry. When in the manufacturing industry, that aspect of operation is even higher in importance. Rules, regulations and guidelines are set in place to ensure these workers are taken care of and kept safe. These guidelines cover all aspects of each industry. However, OSHA Ladder Guidelines tend to remain constant across the board. That’s why Design Components is dedicated to rooftop worker safety and wants you to stay informed on the new OSHA Ladder Guidelines.
New OSHA Ladder Guidelines
As of November 19th, 2018, OSHA implemented new requirements for fixed ladders on buildings. Understanding these new ladder regulations can be confusing, and at times overwhelming. That is why Design Components is here to ensure you have a better understanding of what has changed.
The first and primary change is the phasing out of cages on fixed ladders. Many see this as a step forward for ladder safety. The reality is that cages offer little in the way. The questions we’re sure you have is:
Do we order our new ladder with a cage or not?
Under the new rules, cages are not required or recommended for any new ladder install.
The next question is- if OSHA takes away cages…
How they are planning to protect people from falls?
This is accomplished using a Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS) or ladders safety system. These come in wide variety of designs.
Three primary types are:
- Bolt on cable systems (with a cable grab fall arrester)
- Track systems (with a climbing trolley)
- Top mounted self-retracting lifelines
Of course, each type has their advantages and disadvantages, but each must meet the minimum OSHA Ladder Guidelines outlined in section 1926.502(d) of the OSHA codes.
How Do The New OSHA Ladder Guidelines Affect Existing Ladders?
Under the new OSHA Ladder Guidelines, the modification of an existing ladder or replacement of a ladder section requires that the modified or replaced section be equipped with a fall arrest system. By November 18, 2036, all ladders 24 feet or higher must be retrofitted with a PFAS or ladder safety system.
Here’s the confusing part: Will all existing ladders with cages have to be replaced, or at least have the cages removed? No, the existing caged ladder can stay. But as outlined above, a fall arrest system of some type will have to be retrofitted.
In such cases, the cage must not interfere with whatever fall arrest system is installed. Choosing the right type fall arrest is critical in these retrofit situations.
PFAS and OSHA Ladder Guidelines
While the fall arrest systems themselves are not that complicated, the burden often falls on the purchaser to try to figure out all the parts and pieces needed to make their OSHA Ladder Guidelines compliant.
It’s not uncommon to select a fall arrest system, only to find out the product or that the accessories needed to make it compliant might be discontinued or out of stock. This leads to a list of questions that you need to ask prior to picking a fall arrest system:
- Will this system work with my ladder and the height of my climb?
- What is the system’s load capacity?
- Will the system allow for only one or for multiple climbers? How many?
- What is the true product cost?
You need to gather information on the cost of not only the base components, but any accessories needed to make the system OSHA compliant, such as harnesses, cable grabs, trolleys, carabiners, etc.
What About Landing Platforms?
Multi-section ladders, with a climb of 24’ feet or more, require rest points. These are meant to protect climbers as they ascend. Previously, a fixed ladder with a cage required a landing platform at a maximum interval of 30’ feet.
The new regulations change this requirement dramatically. Fixed ladders without cages must now have a landing platform at maximum intervals of 150’feet. 1910.28(b)(9)(ii)(B)
Ladders with cages must now have a landing platform at maximum intervals of 50’ feet. 1910.28(b)(9)(iii)(B)
Other Ladder Precautions with OSHA Ladder Guidelines
While new OSHA Ladder Guidelines are top priority, other precautions should still be considered during any day of operation. Here is a list of 4 tips to use for Rooftop Safety with OSHA Ladder Guidelines experts.
- Use Tools Properly – One of the leading causes of facility injury is improper use of equipment. While not intentional, improper use of equipment can spawn from not-in-depth training or time sensitive rushing. Combat this with regular training and an equipment operation checklist.
- Clean Areas – Stepping around loose equipment, tools or debris can result in unwanted slips and falls. That’s why OSHA Ladder Guidelines are in place to keep the roofs clean. Utilizing a checklist and seeing what has changed or become hazardous is the best solution.
- Appropriate Gear – Uniforms, hard hats, footwear and harnesses should be atop the gear requirements. They’re there to make the job easier as well as keep your workers safe. If any gear is left out, that could result in injury.
- Climb Cautiously – Accessing rooftops is difficult without the use of ladders. When using, it’s important to ensure they are secure and do not have loose screws or steps.
Where To Find More Information about OSHA Ladder Guidelines?
Reputable manufacturers and suppliers of ladders and fall protection equipment should have experienced personnel on hand that can help you navigate the new OSHA regulations. The OSHA website includes the regulations cited above, as well as a Q and A section that covers fixed ladders. Contractors can also contact their area OSHA representative for assistance.
Your OSHA Ladder Guidelines Experts Can Help You Today
With 40 years in the industry, Design Components believes in quality, safety and great customer service. Our team of visionaries and engineers work together to bring safe, economical, durable and practical accessories that will enhance your building’s functionality and productivity potential.
To find out more about how we can help you with the new OSHA Ladder Guidelines, call us today at (800) 868-9910 or contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.