Tech Talk Blog

Anchorage Testing for Fall Protection Devices – Are You Doing Harm?

OSHA’s revised walking and working surface regulations, which took effect January 2017, includes specific language regarding testing anchorages used in support of window cleaning and facade maintenance equipment.

OSHA [1910.27(b)(1)(i)] states:

Before any rope descent system is used, the building owner must inform the employer, in writing that the building owner has identified, tested, certified, and maintained each anchorage so it is capable of supporting at least 5,000 lb (268 kg), in any direction, for each employee attached.

There has been much talk on how to verify a window washing anchor can support a 5,000 pound load. Some have contended that the anchor requires pull testing to 5,000 pounds, while others have argued that by the time the 5,000 pound pull test is complete, the anchor may sustain permanent damage that renders it unfit for use.

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24-Foot Rule for Mounted Access Ladders

If you’ve been looking into OSHA’s revised Walking Working Surfaces Regulations or have heard about the November 19, 2018 implementation of new regulations for permanently mounted ladders, you may still be confused about the height requirements related to the “24-foot rule.”

Your safety engineer or maintenance crew may have questions like these:

“What if the ladder is made up of sections that are less than 24’…do I need fall protection?”

“What if the ladder is only 20′ long, but starts 10′ above ground level?  What then?”

Whether an employer must equip a fixed ladder or ladder sections with fall protection depends on the distance a worker on the ladder could fall, not the length of any single section of the ladder.

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OSHA’s NEW Fixed Ladder Standards: 5 Measurements You Need to Know

With the deadline approaching, people have been talking about OSHA’s Revised Walking Working Standards and how those new standards relate to fixed ladders installed after mid-November of 2018.

OSHA’s new ladder regulations have been highlighted in various safety magazines and online posts, (you can download our entire primer here) but if you are looking for a “starter” list of pertinent ladder dimensions to ensure compliance, we have just the post for you.

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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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Did You Know?

When stopping a fall, personal fall arrest systems must limit the maximum arresting force on the body to 1,800 pounds?