13 Aug Protecting Elevated Spaces In Manufacturing Facilities & Warehouses : Ladder Safety Gates
Ladders are essential in any workplace facility that uses elevated work planes, storage areas, and walkways to maximize the usable space of the facility. Most ladders used for this purpose are fixed ladders. They are permanently attached to a mezzanine, catwalk, part of the equipment, or the building itself. To comply with OSHA fall protection guidelines, there are several steps you can take to protect workers utilizing fixed ladders. Anytime workers have to climb a fixed ladder, especially when also carrying tools, equipment, or other items, there’s a risk of falls. They must be protected from falling into a ladderway employing a self-closing safety swing gate, ladder safety gates, or guardrail offset to guide employees away from the dangerincluding installing an integrated ladder safety system, providing fall arrest systems, and maintaining fixed ladders properly.
OSHA 1910.23 (d) insists following for Fixed Laddersused anywhere in your facility:
- Ladder steps or rungs must be evenly spaced, so workers aren’t exposed to undo fall risk.
- Steps or Rungs must have a non-slip surface to protect employees.
- Fixed ladders must be strong enough to handle their maximum intended load without failing.
- You must keep ladder steps or rungs clear of debris and other fall hazards.
- Specific OSHA Fall Protection Device Requirements for Fixed Ladders
A few things you should know about Fixed Ladder Fall Protection Equipment:
You understand that there are serious fall hazards associated with the fixed ladders in your facility. You also need to be very careful to follow the standards for the fall protection equipment you choose which include :
Ladder Safety System
Ladder climbing safety systems are permanent vertical lifeline systems, that can be comprised of cable or rail. Eachfixed ladder is equipped with a ladder climbing safety system, all components must meet OSHA 1910.29(i) requirements. The ladder climbing safety system should be inspected before use and periodically based on the manufacturer’s requirements. Any worn, damaged, or otherwise, defective equipment should be taken out of service immediately.
Personal Fall Arrest System
This type of system is designed to stop a fall and absorb the energy before the worker comes into contact with a lower level. A typical personal fall protectionequipment consists of a full-body harness, connectors, and anchorage. It’s also imperative that the system is inspected before use regularly based on the manufacturer’s requirements, for any signs of damage or wear. Any piece of equipment that fails inspection or has been impacted, shall be removed from service immediately.
Ladder Safety Gates
Protecting the entrance of a ladderway is key to preventing falls in your facility. One way to do this is with swing gates that attach to the guardrail system used to protect the elevated surface the ladder leads to. A self-closing gate is a preferred method of protecting ladder entrances in most facilities. Ladder safety gates and other types of the self-closing gate must meet the general requirements per OSHA 1910.29.
Whether you’re running a busy warehouse or a manufacturing facility, you need to take full advantage of every square inch of space you have. That means elevated platforms, mezzanines, catwalks, and other work areas. While you may have guardrails installed around the perimeter, your workers still need access to the space, and it’s up to you to keep them safe as they climb those fixed ladders.
Fixed Ladder Fall Protection Begins with Training
No matter how many Industrial safety swing gates or other safety devices you install or provide, mistakes can still lead to falls. That’s why it’s vital that you provide adequate fall prevention training for incoming employees as well as ongoing training for all members of your organization. For fixed ladders, it’s important to teach workers to:
- Always face the ladder.
- Maintain three points of contact whenever climbing a ladder.
- Inspect rungs or steps before use for signs of dampness or anything slippery.
- Inspect the fall arrest system or ladder safety system for signs of damage.
- Properly secure the body harness, lanyard, and lifeline,
- Enter and exit the ladder entrance through a self-closing swing gate- Chemey EnduGate
- Never over-extend/stretch yourself to the side of the ladder.
- Do not carry loads that can cause a loss of balance on a fixed ladder.
Government authorities are very strict when it comes to requiring employers to compliance standards and regulations. However, they’re not inclined to give specific advice about which safety device or system you should use in a given situation. For that, you need a qualified safety expert like the specialists at Chemey. We’ve been a leading manufacturer of passive fall protection products, specializing in safety gates, Pallet Safety Gates for more than 5 years. Put our safety equipment expertise and industry experience to work for you to protect your employees from fall hazards in your facility and maintain your compliance.