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Fixed Ladder Inspections: Are you in Compliance?

Friday, September 22, 2023

OSHA regulation 1910.28 requires all fixed ladders to be inspected at least once a year, and upon installation or repair. Fixed ladder inspections are critical to maintaining a safe and compliant workplace.

These inspections include checking for damaged or missing rungs, corrosion, or water damage, loose or missing hardware, and other issues that could compromise the safety of the ladder. Regular inspections can help to identify issues early and prevent accidents and injuries. 

According to OSHA, falls account for approximately 10% of all occupational fatalities. Approximately 30,000 adults aged ≥65 years died as the result of a fall in 2016. In 2020, there were 161 fatal work injuries from which ladders were the primary source. This was a 5.8-percent decline from 2019 (171 deaths). There were 105 deaths specifically from movable ladders in 2020 and 5 deaths from fixed ladders. Conducting regular, thorough inspections of ladders is a simple way to avoid these possibly catastrophic consequences. 

During fixed ladder inspections, common issues that our inspectors find include:

- Improper Clearances

Improper clearance refers to the space between the ladder and the wall or surface it’s mounted on. The clearance should be at least 7 inches to the center of rung to allow for safe use of the ladder.

- Damaged Rungs or Rails

Damaged rungs or rails can be caused by wear and tear, impact damage, or exposure to harsh weather/chemical conditions.

- Rust or Corrosion

Rust and corrosion can weaken the ladder, making it unsafe to use.


These issues can all be repaired or replaced to ensure the safety and integrity of the ladder.

rusty bolt loose washer

In addition to inspections, regular maintenance is also important for fixed ladders.

Maintenance activities include cleaning the ladder to prevent debris buildup, tightening bolts and screws, and lubricating moving parts. Lubrication helps to prevent rust and corrosion, while tightening bolts and screws can prevent loose hardware that can cause accidents. Regular cleaning also helps to prevent slip hazards that can lead to falls.

When it comes to maintaining fixed ladders, it is important to work with a qualified professional who has experience with ladder safety and compliance. Ladder safety professionals like S3 inspectors can help to identify issues and provide guidance on repair or replacement. Additionally, training employees on ladder safety is also important to prevent accidents and injuries. Providing employees with ladder safety training is the responsibility of the employer at no cost to the employee and with proper training we can help to ensure that they know how to use ladders safely and responsibly.

Fixed ladder inspections are essential to maintaining a safe and compliant workplace. Regular inspections by a competent person help to identify issues before they lead to accidents or injuries.

Common issues found during inspections include improper clearance, damaged rungs or rails, and rust or corrosion. Regular maintenance is also important for fixed ladders, including cleaning, tightening hardware, and lubrication. Working with a qualified professional and providing employees with proper training can help to ensure that fixed ladders are used safely and responsibly. By following these tips, you can maintain safe and compliant fixed ladders in your facility.


Tanner Thomas

Safety Consultant & Account Executive

907 617-7277

System Inc.