By Brett @ A-Mezz
We received these photos back from a happy customer who contacted us looking for safe platform access by their ladder for a survey tower in San Antonio, Texas. They were accessing the tower shown by a fixed ladder but they did not have any fall protection at the ladder opening which is the OSHA requirement.
Every ladderway floor opening or platform shall be guarded by a standard railing with standard toeboard on all exposed sides (except at entrance to opening), with the passage through the railing either provided with a swinging gate or so offset that a person cannot walk directly into the opening.
In other words you have to have a handrail with toeboard on all sides of an elevated structure, but at the ladder opening you have two options. Option #1 is to use a safety gate with top and mid rail but without the 4”high toe guard. This is your most common solution. Option #2 is to have the ladder offset so that you cannot step directly into the opening. This can add much cost to a job as you have to add landing space and railing to achieve the offset install location. As this survey tower was not using an offset landing for the ladder, the gate was this customer’s only option available to comply with OSHA standards.
After showing them several options, they finally decided on the MLG galvanized ladder gates. For something that was going to sit out in the elements and hopefully receive no maintenance, the galvanized gate with stainless steel springs was the best fit. The MLG gate also ended up being more than 20% cheaper than their other options so they saved some money on the project as well.
Here you can see a close-up of the ladder gate. Installation was fast and simple: flip the gate around to get to the proper orientation, bolt the supplied U bolts around the existing railing, and adjust the length of the gate arm. Flipping the safety gate allows it to pull people away from the edge of the platform and into the middle. Installation took about 5 minutes from the time they unboxed the gate to completion, and now when they climb up the ladder they only have to push the gate in with their bodies and step onto the platform. No more reaching up to unhook chains – which don’t meet OSHA standards at ladder openings – or worrying about staying clear of an unguarded ladder opening.
This customer was so pleased with how our ladder gates worked for their unprotected opening that they called back and ordered more safety gates for another survey tower ladder of theirs.