Fixed ladders can be found on the outside of buildings and structures or indoors in a warehouse or industrial environment. Fixed ladders may also be found on major equipment for easier access and maintenance.
While fixed ladders may seem safer in a work environment than portable ladders, there are still many safety issues that must be considered.
- Visually inspect all fixed ladders before use for any defects.
- Any fixed ladder that is found to have structural (or other) defects must immediately be tagged “Dangerous: Do Not Use” and removed from service until the ladder can be repaired or replaced.
- Fixed wooden ladders may not be coated with any material that could obscure structural defects.
- During the ladder inspection, ensure that there is nothing on the rungs that could cause a slipping hazard.
- Fixed ladder surfaces should be inspected to ensure there are no puncture or laceration hazards like protruding screws or nails.
Fall protection may need to be provided for workers that use fixed ladders. OSHA Regulations were updated in January 2017.
- Fixed ladders that exceed 24 feet must be equipped with a personal fall arrest system, ladder safety system, cage or well.
- IMPORTANT: All fixed ladders installed on or after Nov. 19, 2018 must be equipped with a personal fall arrest system or a ladder safety system.
- OSHA Standard 1910.28(b)(9) provides clarification on required fall protection for fixed ladders.
- Maintain three points of contact when climbing a fixed ladder. Two hands/one foot or two feet/one hand.
- Do not over-extend yourself to either side of the fixed ladder; this can cause you to lose balance.
- Do not carry any load when climbing a fixed ladder that could cause you to lose balance.
- Always face the fixed ladder when climbing up or down.
- Reminder! Keep the area around the top and bottom of the ladder clear.
- Before climbing a fixed ladder, make sure there is nothing slippery on the rungs, steps or feet.
- Do not use a fixed ladder that has a pitch greater than 90 degrees from the horizontal.
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