OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

February 19, 2021

Alex Lindenstein
2928 E. Highway 30
Grand Island, Nebraska 68801

Dear Mr. Lindenstein:

Thank you for your letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding the OSHA standard at 29 CFR § 1910.28(b)(9)(i)(B). This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence. The question you provided in your inquiry is paraphrased below. OSHA's response follows your question.

Background: AGI-MFS is a Manufacturer of grain handling and storage equipment which designs fixed ladders equipped with platforms for grain storage equipment. The platforms could be more than 24 feed above the lower level1. The ladders are equipped with cages and, to prevent employees from falling over the landing platforms to a lower level, vertical metal straps are used, Photos are included for clarity. The upper end of the straps are bolted to the lowest cage hoop, and the lower end either hangs below the top rail of the platform's standard guardrail, or are bolted directly to the top rail. The guardrail system (including the top rail) is designed to meet OSHA's strength requirements. The platforms are provided with a modified standard guardrail equipped with two midrails, and self-closing gate.

According to 29 CFR § 1910.28(b)(9)(i)(B), each fixed ladder installed on and after November 18, 2018, more than 24 feet above a lower level must be equipped with a personal fall arrest system or ladder safety system.2

Question: Would a fixed ladder without a personal fall arrest or ladder safety system be in compliance with OSHA 29 CFR § 1910.28(b)(9)(i)(B) requirements if the ladder is equipped with a cage, metal straps, and landing platform designed in a manner to limit the fall distance to 24 feet or less?

Response: Yes. If the cage and the associated straps described and pictured in your correspondence prevent an employee from falling over the platform to a lower level, and if the distance that a worker climbing a ladder (with a cage and the straps) could fall to a platform is 24 feet or less, then a personal fall arrest system or a ladder safety system is not required.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA's requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our letters of interpretation do not create new or additional requirements but rather explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. From time to time, letters are affected when the Agency updates a standard, a legal decision impacts a standard, or changes in technology affect the interpretation. To assure that you are using the correct information and guidance, please consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov. If you have any questions feel free to contact the Directorate of Enforcement Programs at (202) 693-2100.


Patrick J. Kapust, Acting Director

Directorate of Enforcement Programs



[1] The lower level is defined as a surface or area to which workers could fall. Examples of lower levels include, but are not limited to: ground levels, floors, roofs, ramps, runways, excavations, pits, tanks, materials, water, equipment, and similar surfaces and structures, or portions thereof.


[2] A ladder safety system is defined as, "a system attached to a fixed ladder designed to eleminate or reduce the possiblity of a worker falling off the ladder. A ladder safety system usually consists of a carrier, safety sleeve, lanyard, connectors, and body harness."

image of ladder safety system

image of ladder platform