The University of Chicago

Environmental Health & Safety

  

Temporary Stairways, Ladders and Portable Ladders

Policy

All temporary stairways, ladders and portable ladders used in construction, renovation, repair (including painting and decorating) and demolition shall be constructed, erected and used in accordance with this policy.

Exception: This policy does not apply to ladders specifically manufactured for scaffold access/egress and stairways not used by University employees for theatrical performances such as rope ladders, prop ladders or staircases.

Authority and Responsibility

Environmental Health and Safety is responsible for:

  1. Reviewing this policy to ensure compliance with current regulations;
  2. Reporting any questionable conditions that are discovered to the responsible department; and
  3. Ensuring all affected employees are trained in accordance with this policy.

Departments affected by this policy are responsible for:

  1. Ensuring all affected employees follow the prescribed practices within this policy;
  2. Ensuring all inspection and maintenance practices for stairs and ladders are followed in accordance with this policy; and
  3. Taking the appropriate corrective action in accordance with the University of Chicago’s Personnel Policy on Progressive Corrective Action, Section 703 for employees not complying with this policy.

Employees affected by this policy are responsible for complying with the practices within the Temporary Stairway, Ladder and Portable Ladder policy.

Egress and Access Requirements

All work areas shall meet the requirements for egress and access. Whenever a worker’s point of access is broken in elevation by 19 inches or more and no ramp, egress, embankment or personal hoist is provided, a stairway or ladder shall be provided.

When there is only one point of access or egress between levels, this shall remain clear from obstruction to permit free passage by workers. If the passage becomes obstructed, then a second point of access or egress shall be provided and used. Where there are more than one point of access or egress between levels, at least one point shall be kept clear.

Stairways

All stairways used during the process of construction, renovation or repair, which are not part of the permanent structure, shall be constructed in accordance with the following:

Pix3.16A
Figure 3.16A

Stairrails and Handrails

Handrails are required on stairways having four or more risers, or rising more than 30 inches in heights, whichever is less. A stairrail shall be installed along each unprotected side or edge. When the top edge of a stairrail system also serves as a handrail, the height of the top edge shall be no more than 37 inches nor less than 36 inches from the upper surface of the stairrail to the surface of the tread, as shown in Figure 3.16A. When required, stairrails and midrails shall be constructed as follows:

Ladders

All ladders constructed on site, including job-made ladders, shall meet the following requirements:

Portable Ladders

Portable ladders shall meet the following requirements:

Fixed Ladders

Fixed ladders shall meet the following requirements:

Safety Practices When Using Ladders

When using ladders, whether they are fixed or portable, there are several safety practices that shall be followed before and during use.

Stair 3.16B
Figure 3.16B

Cages, Wells and Safety Devices for Fixed Ladders

Fixed ladders shall be provided with cages, wells, ladder safety devices or self-retracting lifelines where the length of climb is less than 24 feet but the top of the ladder is at a distance greater than 24 feet above lower levels.

Cages for Fixed Ladder

Cages for fixed ladders shall meet the following requirements:

Wells for Fixed Ladders

Wells for fixed ladders shall meet the following requirements:

Ladder Safety Devices and Related Support Systems for Fixed Ladders

Ladder safety devices and related support systems for fixed ladders shall meet the following requirements:

Inspection

Ladders shall be inspected by a department supervisor or designee for visible defects on a semi-annual basis and after any incident that could affect their safe use. The person performing the inspection shall use the Ladder Inspection Checklist. The department shall forward a copy to Environmental Health and Safety and maintain a copy of the report their records.

Portable ladders with structural defects such as broken or missing rungs, cleats, or steps, broken or split rails, corroded components, or other faulty or defective components shall immediately be marked defective or tagged with “Do Not Use”, as shown in figure 3.16C and withdrawn from service until repaired. Fixed ladders with structural defects such as broken or missing rungs, cleats or steps, broken or split rails, or corroded components shall be withdrawn from service until repaired.

Stair 3.16C
Figure 3.16C

Defective fixed ladders are considered withdrawn from use immediately when they are:

Training

All employees using or constructing ladders and stairways shall be trained every three years to recognize hazards related to ladders and stairways and to use proper procedures to minimize these hazards. Employees shall be trained to demonstrate competency in the following areas:

Environmental Health and Safety shall be responsible for providing training on ladder safety. Employees shall be retrained as necessary to maintain their understanding and knowledge on the safe use and construction of ladders and stairs.

Reviewed: March 2014


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