Tanks Ancillaries

Ladders & Safety Cages


In an effort to prevent falls from these fixed ladders, cages or basket guards enclose the ladder’s climbing space and are attached to the tank itself. These cages can help workers regain their balance or reaffirm their foothold instead of falling backward in the case of a slip. Ladders are useful in any number of situations, from something as simple as checking the roof of your tank to something far more complex like reaching the roof of the tank for repairs. Any time you climb a ladder, however, you’re at risk for a fall. What if the ladder you need to climb is straight up the side of a multi-story tank or silo? Even if you’re not afraid of heights, it can be a pretty daunting climb (learn more about fall safety in Fall Protection and Ladders/OSHA Standards).


OSHA Fall Arrest Requirements

With the 2016 update to OSHA 1910, the previous standards and requirements for fixed ladders with cages will be phased out in favor of ladder safety systems and personal fall arrest systems, or PFAS. OSHA 1910.28(b)(9) lays out the new requirements regarding both new and existing fixed ladders, PFAS and ladder safety systems, and compliance deadlines.

The new regulations, which went into effect on November 19, 2018, require specific protective measures for any fixed ladder that extends more than 24 feet above a lower level. Under this new regulation, any ladder installed before that date must have a PFAS, cage, ladder safety system, or well, and any ladder installed on or after that date must have a personal fall arrest system or a ladder safety system.

Note that this clause means that any fixed ladder installed on or after November 19, 2018, that uses a cage or well and does not have a ladder safety system or PFAS, will not comply with current OSHA requirements. Furthermore, if any fixed ladder, cage, or well is replaced after that date, a ladder safety system or PFAS must be installed to remain compliant (1910.28(b)(9)(i)(C)). 

Finally, November 18, 2036 is the deadline for all existing fixed ladders to be brought into compliance with the new OSHA regulations. On this date, all fixed ladders must have an attached PFAS or ladder safety system. OSHA will consider any fixed ladder using only a well or cage to be non-compliant. However, existing cages or wells can remain as long as they don’t interfere with the required safety system.