New OSHA Fixed Ladder Implementation

Effective January 17, 2017, OSHA has issued a final rule updating its General Industry Walking-Working Surfaces standards specific to slip, trip, and fall hazards.

The new rule will require that fixed ladders (over 24ft) be equipped with a personal fall arrest system arrest a workers fall. This rule will also phase out cages as an option for fall protection by November 18, 2036.

“The final rule will increase workplace protection from those hazards, especially fall hazards, which are a leading cause of worker deaths and injuries,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels; “OSHA believes advances in technology and greater flexibility will reduce worker deaths and injuries from falls.”

The final rule brings consistency between the general industry and construction standards.

Gravitec Services

Gravitec can cover all your needs during this transition, from engineering to equipment to training. The audit service we offer consists of an on-site review of all existing ladders at your facility. Included with your audit is a comprehensive report, complete with photos of each ladder and details of any current deficiencies that may exist, as well as identifying any changes that will be required in the future. The report provides a ladder compliance index that ranks each ladder which allows for easy prioritization for future abatements, as well as proposed solutions to any found issues. From there, Gravitec will offer custom designed ladder safety systems to meet your facility needs, be it modification, repair, or complete retrofit of your fixed ladders. Gravitec will also offer both the training and equipment required for using your new fixed ladder systems.


  • Facilities Ladder Audit
  • Ladder Design/Modification/Repair
  • Installation of ladder fall protection systems
  • Training on systems: Skills needed to safely use equipment and climb.


Most of the rule will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, which is January 17th, 2017, but some provisions have delayed effective dates, including:

  • Employers ensure exposed workers are trained on fall hazards (6 months), May 17th, 2017.
  • Employers ensure workers who use equipment covered by the final rule are trained (6 months), May 17th, 2017.
  • Inspection and certification of permanent anchorages for rope descent systems (1 year), November 20th, 2017.
  • Installing personal fall arrest or ladder safety systems on new fixed ladders over 24 feet and on replacement ladders/ladder sections, including fixed ladders on outdoor advertising structures (2 years), November 19th, 2018.
  • Replacement of cages and wells (used as fall protection) with ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems on all fixed ladders over 24 feet (20 years), November 18th, 2036.


Blog Post

So what exactly is happening? And what do you need to do? Well, you’ve come to the right place, Gravitec is here to break it down, rung by rung.