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When do I need a cage ladder?

By Tracy Broyles | Last updated: September 20, 2018
Presented by AD Safety Network

Ladders are useful in any number of situations, from something as simple as changing a light bulb to something far more complex like reaching the roof of a building for repairs. Any time you climb a ladder, however, you’re at risk for a fall. What if the ladder you need to climb is straight up the side of a multi-story office building? Even if you’re not afraid of heights, it can be a pretty daunting climb (learn more about fall safety in Fall Protection and Ladders).

This is where cages can help. In an effort to prevent falls from these fixed ladders, cages or basket guards enclose the ladder’s climbing space and are attached to the building or the ladder itself. These cages can help workers regain their balance or reaffirm their foothold instead of falling backward in the case of a slip. In some cases, the cage can even offer an opportunity for rest or to readjust gear during a climb (protect your workers properly with Arrest or Protect: Your Guide to Choosing the Right Fall Protection System).

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that all fixed ladders taller than 20 feet must have a cage that extends to 42 inches over the top of the landing and begins at least seven feet from the bottom to avoid workers bumping their heads. As with any rule, there are some exceptions to this one. Certain structures, like silos, can substitute alternate safety devices that are more functional for the situation.


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Written by Tracy Broyles

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Ms. Broyles is a blogger, author, and freelance writer specializing in lifestyle, health, and legal topics. When she's not writing, you can find Ms. Broyles brushing up on her research, baking peculiar confections, cosplaying, or coaching her kids on the ball field.

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