Understanding Fall Protection for Fixed Ladders
Falls are among the most common causes of workplace injuries. Increasing the height increases the risk of serious injury without proper fall protection. Thus, the need for increased safety regulations becomes more apparent. Although tricky to understand at times, following OSHA safety guidelines is critical. Updating equipment and procedures with new requirements helps create a safer working environment for everyone. Following OSHA’s regulations also has the added benefit of leading to businesses saving large sums of money per year by preventing on-the-job injuries and accidents. Design Components is a steel building accessories provider committed to understanding and complying with OSHA’s standards, including solutions for OSHA fall protection requirements for ladders.
What is a Fixed Ladder?
OSHA defines a fixed ladder as, “A ladder, including individual rung ladders, permanently attached to a structure, building, or piece of equipment.”
OSHA Fall Protection Requirements for Fixed Ladders
PFAS and Fixed Ladders
OSHA has recently updated its fall protection for ladders. A major change affecting ladders with a height of 24 feet or more is the abandonment of cages. Safety cages were thought to provide additional safety to the climber. Despite this, they have been proved to hamper an individual’s ability to ascend and descend safely. This change impacts ladders installed after Nov. 19, 2018. As for ladders installed before that date, businesses will have until 2036 to remove the cages and update safety standards. This allows for ample time so that businesses can adapt and employees can familiarize themselves with new equipment that matches the updated standards.
In place of the retired safety cages, workers are required to wear a Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS) or will need to use a ladder safety system.
“Personal fall arrest systems, or PFAS, are used to either prevent a fall from taking place or to prevent a worker using the PFAS from hitting another object or lower surface if they do fall. The components that make up a personal fall arresting system include a body harness, lanyard, lifeline, connector, and an anchorage point.”
READ MORE on our blog about Personal Fall Arrest Systems
Implementation of this new OSHA fall protection system will lead to safer conditions.
General Revisions From OSHA
- Each rung must be able to support a load of at least 250 pounds at the center of the rung. The fixed ladder must be able to support the intended load plus any anticipated loads caused by ice buildup, winds, rigging, and impact loads.
- Grab bars must not extend beyond the rungs of the ladder. Additionally, grab bars must be the same size as the ladder rungs themselves, minimum. This creates a safer environment for the workers and prevents them from difficult climbing tasks.
- Hatch covers are now required, by OSHA, to provide easy access to and from the ladder. This means an employer must ensure that there is proper clearance of the hatch, which should be equivalent to at least 70 degrees, to provide that access.
- Due to the difficulty of climbing ladders at an angle greater than 90 degrees, workers will no longer be permitted to do so.
This information is subject to change. Please contact us to speak with a specialist to best understand your unique circumstances and learn about the recommended equipment to comply with OSHA.
Breaking down OSHA requirements can give a solid understanding of the basics. However, it is suggested that one should work with companies and professionals alike to ensure that their equipment meets OSHA requirements. Ensuring equipment meets OSHA needs is what we do best at Design Components. We carefully observe, understand, and incorporate OSHA’s specific requirements to put forth the best possible steel building accessories businesses can benefit from.
Contact DCI for OSHA Approved Fixed Ladders
Design Components is trusted among many industries for providing safety equipment that meets and exceeds OSHA’s strict requirements. As an established provider of safety equipment, we provide high-functioning OSHA-compliant products at a pricepoint fit for your budget.