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New Ladder Requirements Aimed at Work Site Safety

January 31 2020

Many workplace accidents happen on ladders. Workers can either fall from a ladder that has been carelessly set up or else injured when a defective ladder collapses underneath them. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA) has detailed ladder requirements designed to protect workers and prevent injuries, and businesses can be cited and fined when they violate safety requirements.

According to Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, OSHA has passed new ladder requirements with the goal of increasing worker safety. The regulations affect fixed ladders and wells, though worksites that already have these ladders in place are given a long period of time to come into compliance with the new OSHA mandates.

New Requirements in Line with Construction Requirements

Currently, OSHA requires that the construction industry provide fall safety protection for fixed ladders that are at least 24 feet above a lower level. However, there was no requirement in place for non-construction industries.

In 2017, OSHA passed a new regulation that now makes general industry standards comparable to the construction standard. OSHA ruling 1910.128(b)(9)(i) requires that all fixed ladders that are built after November 19, 2018, must have a ladder safety or personal fall arrest system. A fall arrest system typically consists of a body harness or body belt that is connected to an anchor point and can include a deceleration device, lifeline, and/or lanyard.

Those fixed ladders that were constructed before this date are not grandfathered in. Instead, businesses will have 20 years to install a personal fall arrest system or a ladder safety system to bring these older ladders into compliance. This is a generous amount of time, which could have been shortened to protect workers. But eventual change is better than no change at all, so we welcome the new OSHA mandate.

Further, worksite operators cannot rely solely on cages or ladder wells to meet the requirements. Cages and ladder wells will no longer be compliant with OSHA standards after November 18, 2036.

How the New Requirements Impact Workers

Those workers who used fixed ladders as part of their jobs should be safer now that they have a fall arrest system in place. These systems save workers' lives and can prevent serious injury should a worker fall or a fixed ladder fail.

If a job site constructs a new fixed ladder that is not in compliance, then the workplace is dangerous, and the worksite owner could be responsible for any injuries that workers suffer. The same is true if a job site owner does not make necessary changes to older fixed ladders.

Injured in a Fall? Contact a New York City Ladder Accident Attorney

If you have fallen on the job, you might be entitled to compensation under New York law. The team at Lipsig, Shape, Manus & Moverman can analyze the circumstances surrounding the incident and notify you of your legal options. Our case evaluations are free and confidential, so please reach out to us today. You can call 212-285-3300 or submit our online contact form.