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Fixed Ladder

A Fixed Ladder is a non-self-supporting ladder that is non-adjustable in length and permanently attached to a structure at a Pitch ranging from 60 degrees to 90 degrees from the horizontal. The Preferred Pitch of a Fixed Ladder is between 75 degrees and 90 degrees from the horizontal. A Fixed Ladder is considered to be of "Substandard Pitch” if it is installed at an angle between 60 degrees and 75 degrees from the horizontal. Fixed Ladders having a Pitch greater than 90 degrees are not allowed.

Introduction to Basic Fixed Ladder Safety

Ladders are tools. Many of the basic safety rules that apply to most tools also apply to the safe use of a ladder:
  • If you feel tired or dizzy, or are prone to losing your balance, stay off the ladder. Users who tire easily or who have physical limitations that inhibit safe climbing such as fainting and/or under medication or prescription drugs which may cause physical impairment are not permitted to use Fixed Ladders.
  • Do not use ladders in high winds or storms.
  • Wear clean slip-resistant shoes. Shoes with leather soles are not appropriate for ladder use since they are not considered sufficiently slip-resistant. Flat-soled shoes are not appropriate, and footwear with heels when climbing Fixed Ladders is mandatory.
  • Wearing greasy or slippery gloves and/or footwear is not permitted during climbing.
  • Steps, rungs, gripping surfaces and platforms must be kept free of oil, grease or slippery materials. When ice or frost conditions are present, the ladder must not be used.
  • Only one person at a time is permitted on a ladder unless the ladder is specifically designed for more than one climber (such as a Trestle Ladder).
  • Never jump or slide down from a ladder or climb more than one rung/step at a time.

Maintenance

Fixed Ladders exposed to the elements are required to be maintained with protective finishes. The effects of corrosion must be minimized in the case of carbon-steel ladders and the effects of rot must be minimized in the case of wooden ladders. Special attention should be given to portions of ladders in contact with dissimilar metals or embedded in masonry or concrete to avoid accelerated deterioration.

Inspections of Fixed Ladders and Ladder Safety Systems must be made at least annually to identify signs of rust, corrosion and deterioration. The inspection must include all the major components rungs, side rails, supports, fasteners, anchors, Ladder Safety System, backside and front side clearances/obstructions, hatches, hatch opening arms, grab bars, platforms, and side rail extension anchors.

The Fixed Ladder must not be used if any bolts or welds are not secure or missing or if the joints between the rungs and the side rail are not tight.

Where structural defects or defects are identified, the ladder shall be taken out of service, blocked, fenced or removed until repairs are completed by a competent person. Repair materials should be at least the equivalent of the original construction.

Records of annual or regularly scheduled inspections as well as repairs should be kept.

If electrical grounding protection has been provided for the ladder, a continuity inspection of the ground connection(s) must be performed at least annually.

If a Fall Protection System has been provided, it must be inspected and tested according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Fixed Ladder Safety Standards

Safety requirements for Construction, Performance, Use and Care of Fixed Ladders can be found in the following standard:
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