Tech Talk Blog

2018 OSHA Regs: Ladder Cages No Longer Fall Protection Compliant Beginning Nov. 19, 2018

IMPORTANT REMINDER: As described in this post, new OSHA regulations for fixed ladders take effect next quarter – November 19, 2018.

Ladder Cages will NOT qualify as a safety system on fixed ladders of 24′ or taller installed after November 18, 2018.

If you are wondering when a fixed ladder requires fall protection, which forms of ladder fall protection are OSHA compliant, or if ladder cages still comply with OSHA’s revised regulations, we have just the post for you.

If you examine the latest regulations, you’ll note that OSHA 1910.28(b)(9) requires General Industry employers to provide fall protection on fixed ladders of 24′ or taller installed on or after November 19, 2018. Personal fall protection systems like Latchways® Vertical Ladder Lifeline Kits will be REQUIRED on new installations meeting these parameters.

From a best practices standpoint, we have never been fans of ladder cages because they don’t arrest falls.  You can strike your head during a fall, lose consciousness, and create an extremely difficult rescue scenario for first responders.  There are also cases of gruesome entanglements where falling workers tear off body parts during a rapid, uncontrolled descent.

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Cable Based Ladder Safety Systems – Lifelines for Fall Arrest Applications

Ladder Lifelines ensure your personnel’s safety and security when climbing fixed ladders.

Click to Enlarge Image

Unlike cage systems which often foster a false sense of security, a vertical lifeline can arrest a fall if a worker slips while climbing a ladder.  As of November 19, 2018, based on OSHA’s regulations (July 2017), newly installed vertical access ladders of 24 feet or more will be required to have a personal fall protection system installed.

Traditionally designed “cages” will not be considered compliant.

MSA’s ladder lifeline kits are an ideal solution for worker safety and OSHA compliance – expensive to fabricate, install, and maintain.

LATCHWAYS fixed vertical ladder fall protection kit is compliant with OSHA 1910 Walking-Working Surfaces. Kits are pre-swaged and come in the following lengths:

  • 20ft / 6m
  • 40ft / 12m
  • 55ft / 17m
  • 75ft / 22m
  • 90ft / 27m

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Do Your Permanently Mounted Fixed Ladders Still Comply with OSHA Regulations?

OSHA’s Slips, Trips, and Falls Regulations (Updated July 2017) cover a broad range of fall protection topics, including fixed ladders. For fixed ladders, the most important rule changes involve width and offset distance requirements.

In addition, importantly, cage systems will no longer be an acceptable protection device for ladders 24 feet and higher installed after November 19, 2018.

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Part of Complete Loading Dock Safety Planning

As we approach the Industrial Truck Association’s National Forklift Safety Day, it is a good time to think in broad terms about loading dock safety.

Your company’s loading dock can be a busy place with a lot of distractions. It is also potentially one of the most dangerous – there is staggering statistical evidence confirming the dangers at the loading dock. OSHA statistics indicate that there are roughly 85 fatalities, 35,000 serious injuries, and 95,000 overall incidents involving a forklift each year, which lead to losses of $135 million in direct costs and another $650 million in indirect costs.

Having established procedures to help “control the chaos” is the starting point to create a safer work environment.  Procedures and methods can include writing and following a safe sequence of operation for forklift drivers and those entering the traffic zone, using motion-sensors, LED lights, and audible alarms to alert foot traffic.

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Is Your Company Preparing to Take a Fall?

In a recent NSC safety newsletter, the National Safety Council highlights an OSHA requirement that employers have a written emergency action plan. Although there are some exceptions, this policy covers nearly all employers with 11 or more employees.

Any emergency plan should be geared toward specific organizational needs – the size of your facility, the number of employees, and the hazards specific to your business or location. That plan should be reviewed at least once a year. If your facility includes areas where workers use PPE – personal protective equipment – to prevent or arrest a fall, it becomes imperative to have an actionable plan to promptly rescue that worker.

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New OSHA Regulations for Window Washing Anchors and Rope Descent Systems

By now, you’ve probably heard about OSHA’s revised Walking-Working Surfaces regulations.  Many of the articles published on this topic explore the deadlines to convert from ladder cages to ladder safety systems (we recently published an e-book that discusses the new ladder regulations).  Make no mistake—the revised fixed ladder requirements are significant, but the new OSHA regulations cover additional ground that will impact employers and property owners nationwide.    In this post, we’ll look at the new Walking-Working Surfaces regulations as they relate to the use rope descent systems (RDS) and window washing anchors. 

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Did You Know?

A Horizontal Lifeline System must be engineered for two times the applied load in the event of a fall?