Fixed Ladder Safety Checklist
A fixed ladder is a ladder permanently attached to a structure, building or
equipment. Fixed ladders will normally be of a length greater than 20 ft (6.1
m) to a maximum unbroken length of 30 ft (9.1 m), and they will be equipped
with cages or ladder safety devices.
A cage is a guard that is fastened to the side rails of the fixed ladder, or to
the structure, to encircle the climbing space of the ladder for the safety of
the person climbing the ladder. The primary hazard when using a ladder is
falling. A poorly designed, maintained or improperly used ladder may collapse
under the load placed upon it and result in a fall. This checklist can be used
to evaluate the safety of fixed ladders:
Is the fixed ladder routinely cleaned and serviced?
Are rungs kept free of grease, mud or other slippery agents?
Are metal ladders painted or treated to prevent corrosion or rust?
Are wood ladders treated with a non-irritant preservative?
If a cage is installed, does it extend a minimum of 42 in (107 cm) above the
top of a landing?
If a cage is installed, does it extend down the ladder to a point not less than
7 ft (2.13 m), or more than 8 ft (2.44 m), above the base of the ladder?
Does the ladder include a safety device, other than a cage, such as life belts
or friction brakes?
Are all safety devices inspected prior to using a ladder?
Does the ladder have a landing platform that serves as a means of interrupting
a free fall and as a resting place during long climbs?
If the ladder is used to ascend to heights exceeding 20 ft (6.1 m), is it
constructed with landing platforms for each 30 ft (9.1 m) of height or fraction
Is the pitch of the ladder in the range of 75 degrees to 90 degrees with the
Are ladders having a pitch in excess of 90 degrees with the horizontal
prohibited from use?
Do the rungs on metal ladders have a minimum diameter of ¾-inch (1.9 cm)?
Do the rungs on wood ladders have a minimum diameter of 1 1/8 in (2.9 cm)?
Is the distance between rungs 12 in (30.5 cm) or less and uniform throughout
the length of the ladder?
Employers must establish and implement adequate controls, such as barricades and
signs, to prevent non-emergency use of fixed ladders that are meant for fire
fighter use and emergency escape only. In some situations, fixed ladders not
equipped with cages, landing platforms, ladder safety devices or other forms of
worker protection, may be allowed as a means of access for fire fighters and
other emergency personnel, or escape for workers in fire and other emergency
COPYRIGHT ©2003, ISO Services Properties, Inc.