Safety Norms For Use of a Rooftop Access Ladder

Gaining access to the roof or structures installed on rooftops can be tough. However, the challenge can be overcome easily by placing a rooftop access ladder that remains visible 24X7. Repairmen and maintenance crew are known to use such ladders regardless of the nature of work. You will thus find many roof access ladders dangling from water tanks, vats, refineries, and chimneys. While a few may be installed on residential roofs, many are used on commercial properties as well.

OSHA Guidelines For Rooftop Access Ladder

The best roof ladders may look aesthetically pleasing and be functional as well. However, it is most important to ensure safety by mitigating all related risks. Following the OSHA guidelines when sourcing and using the ladder can enable the consumer to remain compliant with the state standards and avoid penalties in case of a mishap.

The rules that need to be followed to a T when using the roof access ladders meant for scaling heights less than 20 feet are:-

1917.118(d)(4)- The central rung of the ladder must be at a distance of 4 inches from the adjacent roof structure namely a vat, water tank, etc. You may have to ensure that this distance is at least 7 inches if you hope to use an old ladder manufactured before 1983. Well, this may be seen as an additional challenge. It is best to ditch the dated ladder and replace it with a brand-new one that meets all specifications.

1917.118(d)(5)- It has been seen that the ladders may be required to pass through walls, deep pits, and/or overhead facilities. It makes sense to check the necessities and order a custom ladder that fulfills all the essentials. The maximum clearance of 24 inches is thus achieved without much trouble. No worries! The manufacturer would also be able to provide you with a deflector to pass over wider gaps. You are sure to find such additions useful when using a crossover ladder or roof return.

1917.118(d)(6) and 1917.118(d)(7)- Both these standards are related to the side rails. The former specifies that the rails must be extended more than 36 inches above the landing surface such as a platform or the surface of the structure. The latter bars use horizontal ladders inclined at 90°. Thankfully the top manufacturers can provide corrective features when the chosen ladder fails to comply with the OSHA standards.

While abiding by the safety regulations is a must-do, you cannot use the rooftop access ladder when determined to utilize it for the following purposes too:

  • As a transportation solution
  • As the sole climbing device to scale towers and/or lofty tanks
  • Is secured to temporary structures such as scaffolding and/or wobbly planks
  • As emergency access during a fire, or any other natural disaster

Admittedly, a top-notch aluminum exterior roof access ladder will be a trifle more expensive than ordinary ladders meant for home use. However, sourcing the best ladder is important to ensure the safety of the workmen. Failing to comply with OSHA standards can prove to be detrimental in the long run.

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