Can you guess what issue received the most OSHA violations for the 12th consecutive year?
Fall protection has many different aspects. It could entail personal fall protection such as harnesses to general fall protection like proper ladder “tie-offs”.
As a manufacturer of roof access and ladder safety products, this article concentrates on two types of roof access products.
Here’s what OSHA says:
When portable ladders are used for access to an upper landing surface, the ladder side rails shall extend at least 3 feet (.9 m) above the upper landing surface to which the ladder is used to gain access; or, when such an extension is not possible because of the ladder’s length, then the ladder shall be secured at its top to a rigid support that will not deflect, and a grasping device, such as a grabrail, shall be provided to assist employees in mounting and dismounting the ladder. In no case shall the extension be such that ladder deflection under a load would, by itself, cause the ladder to slip off its support.
One of the most common ladders that meets OSHA code is the permanent vertical ladder. There are many drawbacks to this type of ladder. It has also been called the “suicide ladder” by some. Why? Because it has no incline so your body wants to fall backwards. Unsafe even with no equipment in hand, adding equipment makes it even harder and unsafe to climb.
This type of ladder normally starts at the ground and reaches the top of the roof. It becomes an invitation to vandals and thieves to access the roof. It is especially attractive to students wanting the thrill of climbing on the school buildings.
“Gate it”, you say? OSHA requires a 7” stand off for the ladder, giving vandals & thieves a perfect foot hold even when the ladder has a gate. Additionally, an employee or contractor has to remember to lock the gate when finished. More than one permanent ladder with a gate has been replaced because vandals removed the gate.
Yes, this is the better solution. A Ladder Receiver is an OSHA compliant ladder receiver that permanently mounts to the side of the building, holding an extension ladder in place. The extension ladder is held in place even in wind, rain and snow or on uneven ground. Your body leans forward on the extension ladder which is much safer. When finished with the extension ladder, they can remove it. No easy access for any unauthorized personnel entering this space unless they happen to be carrying a ladder around with them, as most contractors and maintenance technicians do. Vandals, thieves, and students normally don’t!
The ladder receiver has handles at the roof level to allow a safe hand hold and the ability to walk straight through, which meets the OSHA code. No need to transition around the ladder, where many falls occur. It is safer, less expensive, and more comfortable to use than a permanent mount vertical ladder.