How To Comply With the OSHA Ladder Safety Provision

OSHA’s Ladder Safety Provision

OSHA’s Walking-Working Surface and Fall Protection Standard has been updated. If you haven’t started improving your work site to comply with this new ladder safety provision, then you shouldn’t wait any longer. The Walking-Working Surfaces Regulation originally became effective on January 17, 2017 but some provisions, including rules on training, inspections, and ladders have delayed effective dates. Currently, the OSHA ladder safety provisions will go into effect on November 19, 2018. So, if you aren’t compliant with this new ladder provision then you are running out of time.


Date EffectiveRequirement
May 17, 2017Training workers on fall and equipment hazards
November 20, 2017Inspection and certification of permanent building anchorages
November 19, 2018Installation of fall protection (personal fall arrest systems, ladder safety systems, cages, wells) on existing fixed ladders (over 24 feet) that do not have any fall protection
November 19, 2018Installation of ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems on new fixed ladders (over 24 feet) and replacement ladders/ladder sections
November 18, 2036Installation of ladder safety systems or personal fall arrest systems on all fixed ladders (over 24 feet)

“Falls from ladders account for 20 percent of all fatal and lost work-day injuries in general industry.”

This new rule will regulate and protect workers from falling off fixed, portable, and mobile stands and ladders. Keep in mind, this rule does not affect those who use ladders in emergency operations (firefighting, rescue, and tactical law enforcement) and ladders designed into a machine or piece of equipment.  

For more information on which products are compliant with OSHA’s Walking-Working Surfaces Standard, download our FREE eBook!

Here is a tip: OSHA has a reputation for inspecting and citing employers as soon as they publish a new standard. So, do not wait to comply because noncompliance will cost you more in the end. To help you get started on your work site assessment, here are some steps you can take immediately.

5 Steps To Assess Your Work Site

  1. First, inspect each ladder before initial use in a work shift. This helps to determine if there are any issues that could cause an injury.
  2. Make sure each ladder can support the maximum intended load.  Mobile ladders can support four times the maximum intended load. (Please note: the maximum intended load includes the total load (weight and force) of the employee and all tools, equipment, and materials being carried.)
  3. Inspect any fixed ladders that extend more than 24 feet from the ground/lower level (ladders permanently attached to a structure, building, or equipment) to confirm if there is ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems present.
  4. Ensure each portable ladder (ladders that are self-supporting or lean against a supporting structure) has slip resistant rungs and steps; are secured on slippery surfaces; cannot be moved, shifted, or extended while a worker is on them; top steps and caps of stepladders are not used as steps; ladders are not fastened together to provide added length unless designed for such use; and ladders are not placed on boxes, barrels, or other unstable bases to obtain added height.
  5. After these steps have been taken, schedule a work site audit by a fall protection specialist. This can help determine if there are other fall hazards relating to the walking-working surface regulation.


If any of the steps above prove that you are not compliant with the new regulation, then your best option is to take immediate action. If you wait to comply with the OSHA ladder safety provision you will be subject to citations. Most of all, you could be exposing your workers to deadly falls and injuries.

Contact a HySafe Fall Protection Specialist Today!

Speak to a Fall Protection Specialist right now to schedule a site visit to ensure you comply with the new OSHA ladder safety provision.

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