Fixed Ladder Fall Protection OSHA Changes


Health & Safety
Fixed Ladder Fall Protection OSHA Changes

Creation date


Reaching New Heights Safely and in Compliance

Fixed ladders provide stability when ascending to an elevated work surface because they are fastened to a secure surface such as a building or a tank. tradebe-safety-blog-osha3903-snippet

It is very common to see Fixed ladders used in plants and facilities – and certainly used frequently in our own Tradebe facility operations. They are used to access the top of tanks, upper working platforms, and roofs.

FALL PROTECTION – Did you know?

Changes have been made to OSHA’s 1910 Subpart D Walking Working Surface Standard, OSHA 1910.28(b)(9).  The requirements for Fixed Ladders have changed including the phasing out of Ladder Cages and Ladder Wells as acceptable Fall Protection for general industry.

Prior to the recent changes, OSHA (Construction Standards – 1926.1053(a)(18) required the use of Ladder Cages, Ladder Safety Devices, or Lifelines for Fixed Ladders of above 24 feet – but those requirements have now changed.


Download the OSHA Fact Sheet now by clicking the graphic or here.


OSHA Walking Working Surface Standard Changes include:

  • Existing Fixed Ladders

Fall protection is required on ladders above 24 feet. However, for Cages on Fixed Ladders installed before November 19, 2018, employers have until 2036 to install Ladder Safety or Personal Fall Arrest Systems. (1910.28(b)(9)(i)(A))


  • New Fixed Ladder Installs

For Fixed Ladders installed on/after November 19, 2018, cages are no longer considered compliant fall protection in newly installed ladders. To meet OSHA standards, employers must also install a Ladder Safety System or Personal Fall Arrest System. (1910.28(b)(9)(i)(B))


  • Repair or Replacement of a Fixed Ladder

As of November 18, 2018, a Personal Fall Arrest System or Ladder Safety System will be used to replace any damaged or nonfunctioning section, Cage or Well previously installed on a Fixed Ladder.


  • Final Deadline

By November 18, 2036, Fixed Ladder Cages will no longer comply as Fall Protection Devices.  Fall Protection must be provided by a Personal Fall Arrest System or other Ladder Safety System. 
Cages may remain in place if they do not interfere with the approved fall protection system.


Although the 2036 deadline provides what may seem like plenty of time, it is important to be prepared ahead of this regulation and understand all the requirements leading up to the OSHA deadline.

Making the changes needed sooner rather than later might also help to reduce the risk of Fall incidents.


“Be Safe - Work Safe. Safety is No Accident!”tradebe-usa-safety-slogan-hat

Peter Flockhart

Environmental Health & Safety Specialist, Tradebe USA



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