We supplied the above permanent ladder to a customer who was accessing elevated sections of their presses with catwalk platforms. As the top landings for the presses were infrequently accessed, and floor space was minimal, using a fixed ladder with a walk through handrail was the best solution due to its small footprint, safe access and low cost.
Our standard fixed 8 rung ladders have two pairs of standoff brackets to mount to the wall, but because there was no wall to mount the ladder to in this instance, the installer fabricated custom plates for the wall mount brackets to bolt to. Those custom brackets then mounted to the single C-channel running behind the access ladder.
The ladder was supplied with a walk through handrail that they bolted to the top of their landing. Even though they have OSHA handrail on the catwalk the ladder needed its own walk through rails per OSHA 1910.27(d)(3) which states:
“The side rails of through or side-step ladder extensions shall extend 3 1/2 feet above parapets and landings. For through ladder extensions, the rungs shall be omitted from the extension and shall have not less than 18 nor more than 24 inches clearance between rails.”
There are two main instances that you would find a ladder without the walk through handrails. The first is when you are stepping off to the side of the access ladder to exit (right or left hand exit). Keep in mind that when doing a side exit off your permanently fixed ladder you will still need to have four additional ladder rungs above the landing surface to meet the 42” extension, you wouldn’t just omit the rungs from the extension. Those additional ladder rungs would be for hand hold only.
The second instance that you would not need a walk through handrail is when the fixed ladder is accessing a manhole or any climbs that terminate with hatches. There is no walk through handrail requirement in OSHA 1910.27 for manholes or hatches, and as such, grab bar devices would be voluntary. For information on OSHA’s thoughts regarding telescoping ladder posts see the following letter: http://www.ladderhatch.com/osha-roof-hatch-interpretation.htm