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A Few Things to Consider When Specifying a Fixed Ladder

What will be behind the Fixed Ladder?

When specifying an Aluminum Access Ladder, whether on the interior or exterior of the building, remember to pay attention to any coping, cornices, or gutters along the roof line or pipes along the walls. OSHA code 1910.23(d)(2) requires a minimum of 7 inches of clear space behind the Fixed Ladder from the centerline of the rung to the nearest obstruction. Extended brackets are the solution.

Is the step across distance from the Roof Access Ladder to the weight bearing surface greater than 12 inches?

OSHA code 1910.23(d)(12)(i) states that the step across distance from the Fixed Vertical Ladder to the weight bearing surface be a minimum of 7 inches and not greater than 12 inches anything greater requires a platform to gap the distance.

A walk-thru Rooftop Ladder can have a platform or landing when crossing over parapet walls that cannot be used as a step, or weight bearing surface. The parapet platform is typically six inches above the wall height. If the egress to the roof deck is more than twelve inches, a return ladder would be required on the backside.

If you do not want to penetrate the roof deck and you need a small platform to step over a gutter as seen here on the right, you can get a cantilevered platform. There are certain restrictions so you would need to check with your manufacturer to make sure they can accommodate your requirements.

ANSI A114.3 5.1.1 states that the bottom rung of the Fixed Ladder must be within 14 inches of the ground.

ANSI A14.3 5.3.1 also states that the top rung of the Fixed Ladder must be level with the weight bearing surface.

The most dangerous transition is getting on and off the Fixed Ladder at the exit.

Wondering why you sometimes see an Access Ladder flare at the exit?

OSHA code 1910.23(b)(4) requires a minimum of 16 inches clear tread between the side rails. OSHA code 1910.23(d)(5) requires a minimum of 24 inches of clear space at the exit.

How much side clearance is required by code for a Fixed Ladder?

Glad you asked, OSHA code 1910.23(d)(13)(i) and ANSI A14.3 agree that a minimum of 15 inches from the centerline of the tread to the left or right is required.

When using a Hatch Access Ladder, OSHA code requires a minimum of 30 inches clearance behind the climber’s head.

With a Fixed Ladder to a hatch, the climber does not have anything to hold onto as they transition out of a hatch from the ladder to the roof deck. Therefore, a Hatch Access Ladder can be equipped with a hand-hold device.

A safety post aids the climber when exiting off the ladder to the roof deck. The safety post is especially helpful when the climber is climbing from the roof deck back onto the ladder to descend. The safety post provides stability as the climber turns and positions him or her-self on the ladder to climb back down. The safety post can be fitted on either side or in the middle of the ladder.

How high is the Fixed Ladder going?

All Commercial Fixed Access Ladders over 24 feet are required to have a Ladder Safety System or Personal Fall Arrest System, OSHA 1910.28(b)(9)(i).

With a Ladder Safety System and a Personal Fall Arrest System the user wears a harness that connects to the trolley which ascends with the climber as they climb. There are rigid rail and cable systems available.

Why plan and specify an Aluminum Fixed Ladder?

Aluminum is high strength, corrosion resistant with minimal on-going maintenance or upkeep compared to steel that corrodes over time. Steel is sometimes considered a cheaper faster solution for an access product BUT aluminum is a third the weight of steel, so it is easier to install requiring less equipment.

We know you want an easy access solution for your project. It takes time and effort to research, find, and know the code requirements. The different codes can cause you to feel frustrated, confused, and leave you second-guessing your work. We want to help, contact us with all your code questions. We will help you find the best customized access solution for your project and ship it directly to your job site.

At Precision, we give companies, workers, and their families peace of mind by providing code compliant Aluminum Ladders and Stairways creating safe access to any building space.

Would you like more information on Ladder Safety and Codes? Sign up for a Precision Ladders Lunch and Learn.