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OSHAs stance on Fixed Ladders in the Workplace

By: Jamie Wetherington | January 24, 2019

Let’s review the new rule with fixed ladders in the workplace so to be sure employers can be aware to avoid citations and fines. With fixed ladders being widely used, historical data shows trends of accidents. BLS (Bureau of Labor and Statistics) has shown a rise in fall injuries from fixed ladder. So OHSA has mandated new rules that are changing the industry…

fixed-safety-ladderFixed Ladders: Fixed ladders are permanently attached to a structure, building, or equipment. These include individual-rung ladders, but not ship stairs, step bolts, or manhole steps. The new rule phases in a requirement for employers to have ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems for fixed ladders that extend more than 24 feet, and phases out the use of cages or wells for fall protection under the following timeline: Starting in two years, all new fixed ladders and replacement ladder/ladder sections must have a ladder safety or personal fall protection system. For existing ladders, within two years, employers must install a cage, well, ladder safety system, or personal fall arrest system on fixed ladders that do not have any fall protection. Within 20 years, all ladders extending more than 24 feet must have a ladder safety or personal fall arrest system

Timeline: Most of the rule will become effective 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register, but some provisions have delayed effective dates, including: • Ensuring exposed workers are trained on fall hazards (6 months), • Ensuring workers who use equipment covered by the final rule are trained (6 months), • Inspecting and certifying permanent anchorages for rope descent systems (1 year), • Installing personal fall arrest or ladder safety systems on new fixed ladders over 24 feet and on replacement ladders/ladder sections, including fixed ladders on outdoor advertising structures (2 years), • Ensuring existing fixed ladders over 24 feet, including those on outdoor advertising structures, are equipped with a cage, well, personal fall arrest system, or ladder safety system (2 years), and • Replacing cages and wells (used as fall protection) with ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems on all fixed ladders over 24 feet (20 years).