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OSHA’s New Fixed Ladder Standards: Phasing Out Cages

Man Climbing Down Caged Ladder

Under OSHA’s 1910 Walking Working Surface Standard, requirements around fixed ladders are being redefined and cages are phasing out as acceptable fall protection for general industry. What changes do you need to make and when? We’ve outlined the basics.

What’s Changed for Fixed Ladders Under OSHA 1910

Fixed ladders provide stability when ascending to an elevated work surface because they are fastened to the building or a secure surface. In the past, OSHA has required cages for ladders taller than 20 feet, but as of January 2017, fall protection is required on ladders taller than (or that extend beyond) 24 feet. Several of the important changes are listed below:

  • New height requirement. Fall protection is required on ladders taller than (or that extend beyond) 24 feet.
  • New equipment specification. As of November 18th, 2018, cages are no longer considered compliant fall protection in newly installed ladders. To meet OSHA standards, a personal fall arrest system or a ladder safety system is required.
  • Repair/replacement specification. As of November 18th, 2018, a personal fall arrest system or ladder safety system will be used to replace any damaged or nonfunctioning section, cage or well previously installed on a fixed ladder.
  • OSHA is giving general industry a heads up and deadline. As of November 18th 2036, cages will no longer be accepted as a form of fall protection, and all fixed ladders taller than (or that extend beyond) 24 feet high must use a personal fall arrest system or a ladder safety system.

Timing and Deadlines

Why the time gap? OSHA is giving general industry workplaces, including warehouses, utilities, retail and manufacturing, some time to transition. If you already have a cage attached to a fixed ladder, OSHA will accept its use for the next 19 years. The dates you need to remember are:

November 19, 2018: all 24 feet tall fixed ladders installed or replaced at this time must have compliant fall protection.

November 18, 2036: cages cannot be installed as viable fall protection. All fixed ladders used in general industry will adhere to the same fall protection requirements.

Compliant Fall Protection Options

You can get a jump start on equipment planning with lightweight aluminum, modular fixed ladders for a wide range of applications. FIXFAST manufactures rooftop safety equipment that is easy to transport, adapt in the field, and use long term, due to noncorrosive material and sturdy construction. We know that various work sites and jobs may require specific features to make the space safe. That’s why we offer a range of fixed ladder styles in our KATTCLIMB series, including:

Interested in learning more about KATTCLIMB fixed ladders and/or how to best resolve your access issues? We’d love to talk through your needs and find the best solution. Contact us today!

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