Caged Ladders No Longer OSHA Fall Compliant

Compliant Fall Protection Options

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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. 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 19th, 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 19th 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.

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