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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Regulations (Standards - 29 CFR) - Table of Contents
• Part Number: 1917
• Part Title: Marine Terminals
• Subpart: F
• Subpart Title: Terminal Facilities
• Standard Number: 1917.118
• Title: Fixed ladders.
• GPO Source: e-CFR


Scope and applicability. This section applies to all fixed ladders except:


Ladders forming an integral part of railway cars, highway carriers, cargo containers or other transportation carrier equipment;


Climbing devices such as step bolts or structural members of tanks and towers;


Ladders built into or vertically attached to tubular scaffold framing; and


Ladders used only for fire-fighting or emergency purposes.




"Cage" (basket guard) means a barrier enclosing or nearly enclosing a ladder's climbing space and fastened to one or both of the ladder's side rails or to another structure.


"Fixed ladder" means a ladder including individual rung ladders, permanently attached to a structure, building or piece of equipment.



"Ladder safety device" means a support system limiting an employee's drop or fall from the ladder, and which may incorporate friction brakes, lifelines and lanyards, or sliding attachments.


"Well" means a permanent complete enclosure around a fixed ladder, which is attached to the walls of the well.




Ladders with broken, split or missing rungs, steps or rails, broken welds or connections, corrosion or wastage or other defect which may affect safe use shall be removed from service.


Ladder repairs shall provide strength at least equivalent to that of the original ladder.


Ladder specifications.




Ladders installed before October 3, 1983, shall be capable of withstanding without damage a minimum concentrated load, applied uniformly over a 3 1/2 inch (8.8 cm) width at the rung center, of 200 pounds (890 N).



Ladders installed after October 3, 1983 shall be capable of withstanding 250 pounds (1,112 N) applied as described in paragraph (d)(1)(i) of this section. If used by more than one employee simultaneously, the ladder as a unit shall be capable of simultaneous additional loading in 250 pound (1,112 N) increments for each additional employee, applied to a corresponding number of rungs. The unit shall have a safety factor of four (4), based on ultimate strength, in the designed service.




Ladders installed before October 3, 1983, shall have rungs evenly spaced from nine to 16 1/2 inches (22.9 to 41.9 cm) apart, center to center.


Ladders installed after October 3, 1983 shall have rungs evenly spaced from 12±2 inches (30.5±5.08 cm) apart, center to center.




Ladders installed before October 3, 1983 shall have a width between side rails of at least 10 inches (25.4 cm).


Ladders installed after October 3, 1983 shall have a width between side rails of at least 12 inches (30.48 cm).


The minimum distance between the rung center line and the nearest permanent object behind the rung shall be 4 inches (10.16 cm), except that in ladders installed after October 3, 1983, the minimum distance shall be 7 inches (17.78 cm) unless physical limitations make a lesser distance, not less than 4½ inches (11.43 cm), necessary.



When a ladder passes through an opening or past overhead obstructions, a minimum 24 inch (.61 m) clearance shall exist between the climbing side and any obstruction. Where this distance is less than 30 inches (0.76 m), a deflection device shall be installed for guidance through the opening.


The side rails of ladders shall extend at least 36 inches (0.91 m) above the top landing surface, unless grab bars or equivalent holds are provided.


Ladders whose pitch exceeds 90 degrees to the horizontal (slanting backward on the climbing side) shall not be used.


Protection against falls.


Fixed ladders more than 20 feet (6.1 m) in height shall be provided with a cage, well, or ladder safety device.


When a well or cage is used, ladders with length of climb exceeding 30 feet (9.14 m) shall comply with the following provisions:


The ladder shall consist of multiple sections not exceeding 30 feet (9.14 m) each;


Each section shall be horizontally offset from adjacent sections, except as specified in paragraph (e)(2)(iv) of this section, and



A landing platform capable of supporting a load of 100 pounds per square foot (4.79 kPa) and fitted with guardrails complying with Sec. 1917.112(c) shall be provided at least every 30 feet (9.14 m), except as specified in paragraph (e)(2)(iv) of this section.


For ladders installed after October 3, 1983, offset sections and landing platforms are not required if hinged platforms capable of supporting 100 pounds per square foot (4.79 kPa), and which are kept closed except when opened for passage, are within the cage or well at intervals not exceeding 30 feet (9.14 m).


Ladders equipped with ladder safety devices shall have rest platforms;


Capable of supporting a load of 100 pounds per square foot (4.79 kPa);


Located at intervals of 150 feet (45.7 m) or less; and


Protected by guardrails complying with 1917.112(c) of three sides.


Where used, ladder safety devices shall:


Be installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, which shall be available for inspection;



Be repaired only with replacement parts having performance capability at least equal to that of the original parts;


Have a connection length between carrier centerlines and safety belts of 10 + or - 2 inches (25.4 + or - 5.08 cm); and


Be installed in a manner that does not reduce the ladder's structural capability.


Ladder cages or wells shall:


Be of rigid construction that allows unobstructed use but prevents an employee from falling through or dislodging the cage or well by falling against it;


Have smooth inner surfaces;


Extend at least 36 inches (0.91m) above landings; and


Extend to within 8 feet (2.44 m) above the ground or base, except that a maximum of 20 feet (6.1 m) is permitted where the cage or well would extend into traffic lanes.



Ladders installed after (effective date of standard) on radio, microwave communications, electrical power and similar towers, poles and structures, including stacks and chimneys, shall meet the requirements of this paragraph (e).


Individual rung ladders. Ladders consisting of individual rungs that are attached to walls, conical manhole sections or river cells shall:


Be capable of supporting a load of 350 pounds (1557 N) without deformation;


Form a continuous ladder, uniformly spaced vertically from 12 inches to 16 inches (30.5 to 40.6 cm) apart, with a minimum width of 10 inches (25.4 cm) and projecting at least 4½ inches (11.43 cm) from the wall;


Be so constructed that an employee's foot cannot slide off the ends; and


Be firmly attached and without sharp edges.

[62 FR 40141, July 25, 1997; 65 FR 40941, June 30, 2000]

Next Standard (1917.119)

Regulations (Standards - 29 CFR) - Table of Contents

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