Ladders & Safety Cages
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.