We were recently called in to inspect the fixed ladders in a manufacturing facility. The owner had been conducting the inspections in-house for several years, and they wanted to know if their work was sufficient to comply with OSHA. Unfortunately, of the 1,000+ ladders in the facility, our technicians found over 600 that did NOT meet the requirements. Had the fixed ladders been subject to a surprise OSHA inspection, they would have incurred significant fines. Or worse, the unsafe conditions could have resulted in a workplace accident.
Fixed ladders include any ladder permanently attached to a structure. They’re governed by OSHA 1910.27 and ANSI-ASL A14.3 for safety and design requirements.
While the ladders in this facility failed for many reasons, many were easy to fix. We added non-slip surface tape to the rungs or installed a gate at the rooftop access to bring them into compliance. Thankfully, these units were back in service quickly.
However, other units were found to have crucial deficiencies and safety issues. For some, there was not adequate clearance on the sides or obstructions to the user ascending or descending. We found fixed ladders measuring 20 ft or higher missing the platforms required for resting locations. Still others had corrosion, weather damage, missing parts, or cracked welds. We repaired as many units as possible, with the customer’s budget in mind, but some replacement ladders were also needed.
Though the customer didn’t experience any workplace injuries or fines, there was another downside to putting off their inspection. When our technicians found the violations, numerous ladders were tagged “out of service”, and the customer lost access to equipment and utilities. The repairs were completed as quickly as possible, but ongoing preventative maintenance would have reduced this headache.Shupper-Brickle Equipment specializes in fixed ladder inspections and other services for overhead material handling equipment. Contact us for questions about repairs or for an overall fixed ladder solution.