FAQs on new OSHA Fall Protection Regulations: Vol. 7 – Fall Protection for Fixed Ladders

In this installment of our blog series, we’re focusing on new OSHA regulations related to fall protection for fixed ladders.

It’s important to note that the final rule phases out the use of cages and wells as fall protection devices on fixed ladders that extend more than 24 feet. The regulation—specifically paragraph (b)(9)(i)—allows employers to continue to use existing fixed ladders that have a cage or well, but no ladder safety or personal fall arrest system, until:

  • The fixed ladder, cage, or well, or portion of it is replaced
  • November 18, 2036, whichever comes first

OSHA points out that the rule doesn’t prohibit employers from also installing cages and wells on new fixed ladders in addition to ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems. However, OSHA stresses that employers may not use cages and wells instead of providing ladder safety and personal fall arrest systems. In addition, employers must ensure that the cages and wells are compatible with and do not interfere with the ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems.

For your planning and phasing purposes, please note the deadlines for complying with the new rule. According to OSHA 1910.28(b)(9), for fixed ladders that extend more than 24 feet above a lower level, the employer must ensure:

(A) Each fixed ladder installed before November 19, 2018 is equipped with a personal fall arrest system, ladder safety system, cage, or well

(B) Each fixed ladder installed on and after November 19, 2018, is equipped with a personal fall arrest system or a ladder safety system

If you have other specific questions about the new OSHA regulations that you’d like us to address, please comment below.

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