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Does my fixed access ladder need a cage?

Published On : 2016-08-16

Whether or not you are one of them, you can likely list the names of a few close friends who spend every day working in the construction industry or jobs involved with site work. Now imagine, every day, one of those close friends was tragically killed in preventable accidents; that is the stark reality of ladder-related deaths in North America. Out of the 2,000 people injured every day using ladders, 100 suffer a long-term or permanent disability and even more tragically, one person dies. Yes, there is a ladder related fatality every single day.

What is the point of a ladder cage?

Those alarming statistics prove how important it is to understand what measures can be taken to increase ladder safety. A good place to start is to ensure that for whatever ladder or height-related risks your team works around, that there is compliance with your local code. For fixed access ladders, one of those requirements is to have a protective cage around the rungs. Although it is debatable whether cages help prevent or arrest falls, they are an obvious guard against backward falls. Cages also provide more area to grip and arrest a fall, while providing an easy way for workers to rest by leaning back against the cage support.

      Does my fixed access ladder need a cage?

When is a ladder cage required?

If the total length of the climb on a fixed ladder equals or exceeds a certain height, it will require some form of fall protection. It will need to be equipped with at least one of the following:

  • Ladder cage
  • Ladder safety devices
  • Self-retracting lifelines
  • Rest platforms at intervals

See the codes that apply to each Canadian province and the USA below:

 Alberta

A ladder cage is required if the ladder is more than 6.5m (21.5 feet) long. Cage not required if the ladder incorporates a fall arrest system.

 British Columbia

Fixed ladders, with a length of more than 20 feet to a maximum unbroken length of 30 feet to be equipped with cages fastened to the side rails of the fixed ladder or to the structure to encircle the climbing space. A fixed ladder less than 20’ if used only for access does not need to be caged.

 Manitoba

A fixed ladder in a vertical position or at an angle of not more than 25 degrees to the vertical, is equipped, if it is more than 5m (16’ 5”) high, with ladder cages and rest platforms, at intervals of not more than 5m (16’ 5”), or a fall protection system.

 New Brunswick

Provide ladder cages for a fixed ladder that is more than 6m in height, except where an employee uses a fall-arresting system.

 Newfoundland

A ladder cage must be provided 7.3m above surface ladder height, with no fall arrest for worker.

 Northwest Territories

A fixed ladder that is more than 6m high is equipped with platforms at intervals of not more than 6 m and ladder cages, or a personal fall arresting system.

 Nova Scotia

A fixed ladder must have a safety cage whenever the safe surfaces joined by the ladder are more than 7.3m apart (24 ft). The cage must extend 1.07 meters above the highest safe surface and end 2.1m-2.4m from the lowest safe surface.

 Nunavut

A fixed ladder that is more than 6m high is equipped with platforms at intervals of not more than 6 m and ladder cages, or a personal fall arresting system.

 Ontario

Where the ladder extends over 5m above grade, floor or landing, it shall have a safety cage commencing not more than 2.2m above grade, floor or landing and continuing at least 90cm above the top landing with openings to permit access by a worker to rest platforms or to the top landing.

 Prince Edward Island

The employer shall ensure that a fixed ladder more than 6096mm (20 ft.) in length is provided with a safety rail secured to the ladder; or cage guards with offset platforms at intervals not greater than 9144mm (30 ft.); or adequate fall arresting equipment.

 Quebec

Permanent ladders shall be provided with crinolines or cages or a fall arrestor in compliance with CAN/CSA Standard Z259.2.1-98 Fall Arresters, Vertical Lifelines and Rails, where there is danger of a fall greater than 6m.

 Saskatchewan

A fixed ladder that is more than 6m high is equipped with platforms at intervals of not more than 6m or ladder cages, in the case of ladders installed on or before March 11, 1986, or platforms at intervals of not more than 6m and ladder cages, in the case of ladders installed on or after March 12, 1986. Or, is equipped with a personal fall arrest system.

 Yukon

A fixed ladder more than 5m (16 ft.) in height shall be equipped with ladder cages or a safety device that is designed and constructed to lock and to suspend a worker using the device if the worker loses hold of the ladder, and have a rest platform at not more than 9m (30 ft.) intervals, and be offset at each rest platform.

 USA

If the total length of the climb on a fixed ladder equals or exceeds 24 feet (7.3m), the ladder must be equipped with ladder safety devices; or self-retracting lifelines and rest platforms at intervals not to exceed 150 feet (45.7m); or a cage or well and multiple ladder sections with each ladder section not to exceed 50 feet (15.2m) in length. These ladder sections must be offset from adjacent sections and landing platforms must be provided at maximum intervals of 50 feet (15.2m).

 

Never take the chance!

If you are unsure of whether or not your specific fixed access ladder requires cage protection, call us and we can answer that for you. Still not comfortable? Call us at +1 613 267 4493 or email info@skylinegroupintl.com to arrange an inspection at your facility!

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