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Ladders - Fixed Access

When should you inspect fixed ladders?

  • 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?

  • 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?

  • 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?

  • 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.

Document last updated on January 8, 2021

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Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.