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Rigid Track Ladder Lifeline Systems

Ascending and descending from ladders is a key safety issue in many different market sectors. From utility towers and wind turbines to fixed ladders found on silos and bulk storage towers, the use of a vertical rigid track lifeline system minimizes drop distance and forces exerted on a worker in the event of a fall.  In addition, a Vertical Rigid Track Fall Arrest System typically offers longer service life than a Vertical Lifeline constructed with steel cable, but it is important to discuss the length of the system and anticipated number of users with your fall protection company to make a sound decision on which style of fall arrest system will best suit your specific application.

Diversified Fall Protection  a complete turnkey provider of OSHA compliant cable based and rigid track vertical lifelines.  Contact us for expert assistance with your fall arrest, fall restraint and fall protection safety requirements


Design Considerations

Vertical Rigid Track System Design Considerations For installations utilizing vertical rigid track systems, shuttle devices must run the length of the rail in an unhindered manner. Any snagging of the shuttle will make it difficult to move freely on the system and could pose safety issues.  While allowing freedom of movement up and down the length of the system, in the event of a fall, the shuttle must lock instantly to minimize fall distances and forces exerted on the user. Vertical Fall Arrest systems must be installed in a manner that does not restrict foot space on the ladder rungs or offer resistance as the user climbs or descends on the ladder  By offering a wide range of mounting brackets, the system can be configured to accomodate many ladder styles, including narrow gauge ladders where foot space is restricted. In applications requiring the use of a ladder where none is present, the rail is machined to accept ladder rungs, providing the dual benefit of fall protection while meeting the need to ascend and descend the system.

OSHA Regulations

  • OSHA Considerations
    • 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 or rungs, or grab bars, or both, to the nearest permanent object in back of the ladder is 7 inches (18 cm), except for elevator pit ladders, which have a minimum perpendicular distance of 4.5 inches (11 cm);
    • 1910.23(d)(3)  Grab bars do not protrude on the climbing side beyond the rungs of the ladder that they serve;
    • 1910.23(d)(4)  The side rails of through or sidestep ladders extend at least 42 inches (1.1 m) above the top of the access level or landing platform served by the ladder. For parapet ladders, the access level is:
    • 1910.23(d)(4)(i)  The roof, if the parapet is cut to permit passage through the parapet; or
    • 1910.23(d)(5)  For through ladders, the steps or rungs are omitted from the extensions, and the side rails are flared to provide not less than 24 inches (61cm) and not more than 30 inches (76 cm) of clearance. When a ladder safety system is provided, the maximum clearance between side rails of the extension must not exceed 36 inches (91 cm);
    • 1910.23(d)(6)  For side-step ladders, the side rails, rungs, and steps must be continuous in the extension (see Figure D-2 of this section);
    • 1910.23(d)(7)  Grab bars extend 42 inches (1.1 m) above the access level or landing platforms served by the ladder;
    • 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 terminates at a hatch (see Figure D-3 of this section), the hatch cover:
    • 1910.23(d)(9)(i)  Opens with sufficient 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 constructed to prevent the employee's feet from sliding off the ends of the rungs (see Figure D-4 of this section);
    • 1910.23(d)(11)  Fixed ladders having a pitch greater 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 through ladders, not less than 7 inches (18 cm) and not more than 12 inches (30 cm) to the nearest edge of the structure, building, or equipment accessed from the ladders;
    • 1910.23(d)(12)(ii)  For side-step ladders, not less than 15 inches (38 cm) and not more than 20 inches (51 cm) 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 (38 cm) 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 (76 cm) from the centerline of the steps or rungs to the nearest object on the climbing side. When unavoidable obstructions are encountered, the minimum clearance at the obstruction may be reduced to 24 inches (61 cm), provided deflector plates are installed
    • 1910.28(b)(9)  Fixed ladders (that extend more than 24 feet (7.3 m) above a lower level).
    • 1910.28(b)(9)(i)  For fixed ladders that extend more than 24 feet (7.3 m) above a lower level, the employer must ensure:
    • 1910.28(b)(9)(i)(A)  Existing fixed ladders. Each fixed ladder installed before November 19th 2018, is equipped with a personal fall arrest system, ladder safety system, cage, or well;
    • 1910.28(b)(9)(i)(B)  New fixed ladders. Each fixed ladder 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.

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