Ladders - Fixed Access

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When should you inspect fixed ladders?

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  • Inspect the fixed ladder before each use.
  • Inspect fixed ladders periodically, at least annually. Inspections may be required more frequently depending on the organization's requirements or the ladder's exposure to elements such as weather or salt air.
  • Report any defect promptly.
  • Keep a record of every inspection.

What should you check for when inspecting access ladders?

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  • loose, worn and damaged rungs or side rails
  • damaged or a corroded cage
  • corroded guard, bolts and rivet heads
  • damaged or corroded handrails and brackets on platforms
  • broken or loose anchorages
  • weakened or damaged rungs on brick or concrete slabs
  • defects in climbing devices, including loose or damaged carrier rails or ropes
  • slippery surfaces from oil and ice
  • clutter obstructing the base of ladder or platform
  • the proper functioning of any safety gates

What should you do when climbing a fixed ladder?

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  • Wait until the other person has exited before ascending or descending.
  • Use the appropriate safety devices (e.g., restraint belt, traveling fixture, vertical lifelines, safety rail).
  • Maintain three-point contact by keeping two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand on a ladder always.
  • Face ladder and use both hands to grip the rungs firmly.
  • Place feet firmly on each rung.
  • Wear footwear with heels. Ensure that footwear is in good condition.
  • Clean muddy or slippery boot soles before mounting a ladder.
  • Rise or lower tools and materials using a hand-line.
Fixed access ladder
Wear appropriate safety devices

What should you avoid when climbing a fixed ladder?

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  • Avoid climbing with wet or muddy soles that may increase the chances of slipping.
  • Do not carry tools or materials in your hand while climbing. Carry small tools in a tool pouch.
  • Do not jump from a ladder. Check footing before descending a ladder.
  • Do not hurry up or slide down a ladder.
  • Climbing ladders above 3 metres (10 feet) also require the use of fall protection.

  • Fact sheet last revised: 2021-01-08