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OSHA Requirements Fixed Ladders

Industrial equipment in the warehouse needs to follow certain safety codes in order to protect employees.  Everyone should be familiar with OSHA and their requirements for the equipment and products that are used in the workplace.  Fixed ladders are of utmost importance as climbing at various heights can be very dangerous.  Fixed ladders fall under OSHA 1910.23 – Ladders and OSHA 1917.118 – Fixed Ladders.  OSHA standard 1910.23 deals with an assortment of ladders such as rolling ladders, fixed ladders, cage ladders, and walk-through ladders.  Continue reading below to see the standard fixed ladder OSHA safety requirements.

OSHA logo next to fixed cage ladder with text OSHA Fixed Ladder Requirements. SaveMH logo in bottom right.

OSHA Standards for Fixed Ladders

OSHA has a few different subparts relating to ladder safety and fall protection. The exact subpart for fixed ladders is OSHA 1910.23(d) – Fixed Ladders.  Every part of the code is important to safety, but to make things more digestible, part 1910.23(d) will be the focus as it relates to what the employer must ensure and few other codes that are should be noted.

OSHA Fixed Ladder Requirements – 1910.23(d)
OSHA Number Definition
1910.23(d) Fixed ladders. The employer must ensure:
1910.23(d)(1) Fixed ladders are capable of supporting their maximum intended load
1910.23(d)(2) The minimum perpendicular distance from the centerline of the steps/rungs, grab bars, or both, to the nearest permanent object in back of the ladder is 7 inches, elevator pit ladders is the only exception at 4.5 inches
1910.23(d)(3) Grab bars do not overhang on the climbing side beyond the rungs of the ladder they are on
1910.23(d)(4) The handrails or extensions of walk-through or sidestep ladders extend at least 42 inches above the top of the access level or landing platform provided by the ladder. For parapet ladders, the access level is determined by:
1910.23(d)(4)(i) The roof, if the parapet is cut to allow a walk-through the parapet; or
1910.23(d)(4)(ii) The top of the parapet, if the parapet is continuous
1910.23(d)(5) For walk-through fixed ladders with the steps/rungs omitted from the extensions. The side rail extensions are flared to provide not less than 24 inches and not more than 30 inches of clearance. If there is a fixed ladder safety system provided, the maximum clearance must not exceed 36 inches
1910.23(d)(6) For side-step ladders, the side rails, rungs, and steps must be continuous in the extension
1910.23(d)(7) Grab bars/handrail extension extend 42 inches above the access level or landing platforms
1910.23(d)(8) The minimum size (cross-section) of grab bars is the same size as the rungs of the ladder
1910.23(d)(9) When a fixed ladder ends at a hatch, the hatch cover:
1910.23(d)(9)(i) Opens with enough clearance to provide easy access to or from the ladder; and
1910.23(d)(9)(ii) Opens at least 70 degrees from horizontal if the hatch is counterbalanced
1910.23(d)(10) Individual-rung ladders are made to prevent the employee’s feet from sliding off the two ends of the rungs
1910.23(d)(11) Fixed ladders having a pitch more than 90 degrees from the horizontal are not used
1910.23(d)(12) The step-across distance from the centerline of the rungs or steps is:
1910.23(d)(12)(i) For walk-through ladders, not less than 7 inches and not more than 12 inches to the nearest edge of the structure, building, or equipment accessed from the ladders
1910.23(d)(12)(ii) For side-step ladders, must be between 15 inches and 20 inches to the access points of the platform edge
1910.23(d)(13) Fixed ladders that do not have cages or wells have:
1910.23(d)(13)(i) A clear width of at least 15 inches on each side of the ladder centerline to the nearest permanent object; and
1910.23(d)(13)(ii) A minimum perpendicular distance of 30 inches from the centerline of the steps or rungs to the nearest object on the climbing side. When unavoidable objects are in the way, the minimum clearance is reduced to 24 inches. Deflector plates for head hazards must be installed if this is the case

Please be aware that section 1910.28 establishes the employer’s duty to provide fall protection for employees on fixed ladders, and section 1910.29 states the criteria for fall protection systems for fixed ladders.

Other Important OSHA Ladder Codes to Remember
OSHA Number Definition
1910.23(b)(4) Clear width between rungs/steps is a minimum 16 inches*
1910.28(b)(9)(i) For fixed ladders that are more than 24 feet above the ground or lower level, the employer must ensure:
1910.28(b)(9)(i)(A) Existing fixed ladders. Every fixed ladder installed before November 19, 2018 is equipped with a personal fall arrest system, ladder safety system, cage, or well
1910.28(b)(9)(i)(B) New fixed ladders. Every fixed ladder (more than 24 above the ground/lower lever) installed on and after November 19, 2018, is equipped with a personal fall arrest system or a ladder safety system
1910.28(b)(9)(i)(C) Replacement. When a fixed ladder, cage, or well, or any portion of a section thereof, is replaced, a personal fall arrest system or ladder safety system is installed in at least that section of the fixed ladder, cage, or well where the replacement is located; and
1910.28(b)(9)(i)(D) Final deadline. On and after November 18, 2036, all fixed ladders are equipped with a personal fall arrest system or a ladder safety system
1917.118(e)(1) Fixed ladders more than 20 feet in height must have a cage, well, or ladder safety device

 SaveMH Loading Dock Fixed Ladders

SaveMH currently offers walk-through loading dock fixed ladders that feature yellow finish and extended handrails with a red vinyl grip on the end.  Dock ladders can have 3-10 rungs (26"H to 110"H rung height).  Also, read more about rolling ladder osha requirements here.  If there are any questions you have, feel free to fill out a contact form