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Industrial worker standing on the edge without protection.

Safety on heights is a global concern in the industry

  • warning According to the American OSHA, falls from heights rank among the main causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths.
  • warning In 2017, there were 35 fatal falls from workers in the UK.
  • warning In Belgium, almost 20% of all serious injuries occurring on the work floor are caused by falling from heights above 2.5m.

Facts can't be ignored.

On heights above 2.5 m, it is mandatory that every worker be protected against falling by means of an individual or collective fall protection system.
Also, we shall not forget the use of anti-slip measures on walkways, rungs, roofs,...
Please note that a ladder cage is not a fall protection system. It will not prevent anyone from falling!

Fatal fall of a worker in the industrial sector.

A very important standard is the EN ISO 14122. This standard titles: SAFETY OF MACHINERY - PERMANENT MEANS OF ACCESS TO MACHINERY.

And it has 4 parts:

The standard is very detailed and well known by JOMY engineers, who will help you find your way in all of the specifications.

Hereunder you will find some interesting but very limited extracts from the norm:

Part 1: Choice of fixed means and general requirements of access

  1. Ladder → recommended
  2. Ship ladder
  3. Ship ladder
  4. Stairs
  5. Stairs → recommended
  6. Stairs
  7. Walkway platform with anti-slip system
  8. Walkway platform → recommended

The right choice really depends on eliminating the risks that exist in the given situation: slipping, tripping, high physical effort and protection from external moving or falling parts.

Graphics of slope angles for fixed means of industrial access.

Cage ladder (catladder) installed on a silo.

Stair for industrial access in a refining plant.

Industrial metal access ramp for all types of vehicles.

Part 2: Working platforms and walkways

Industrial working platforms and walkways need to be designed, fabricated and installed in a way that ensures the security of the persons using it. Every part of the construction needs to be able to withstand the elements from the space surrounding it.

Industrial work platform with access stairs and removable trap on a motor factory production line.

Access platforms, stairs and walkways, made in corrosion-free aluminium and used in an underground water treatement plant.

Mobile aluminium workplatform with access stairs, security gate and guardrails.

Part 3: Stairs, stepladders and guardrails

A good staircase should be specified as follows:

  • H. Climbing height
  • g. Going
  • e. Head height
  • h. Rise
  • l. Length of the landing
  • r. Overlap
  • α. Angle of pitch
  • w. Width
  • p. Pitch line
  • t. Depth of step
  • c. Clearance

Stair FORMULA according to this norm: 600mm ≤ g + 2h ≤ 660mm

Graphic of a stair according to the norm ISO 14122, used for the formula 600mm ≤ g + 2h ≤ 660mm.

3 storey industrial stairs and platform for accessing a concrete storage tank in an industrial plant.

Machinery access stairs with security door and guardrails for collective fall-protection on a roof of a factory building.

Access stepladder and work platform above a wall outside.

Part 4: Fixed ladders

General rules regarding the placement of rest platforms with fixed ladders:

  1. Arrival area
  2. Departure area
  3. Intermediate platform or rest platform
  4. Ladder flight
Graphic showing ladders with restplatforms according to the ISO 14122 norm.

Cage ladder with rest platforms used in an industrial reservoir / well.

Fixed ladder for accessing a working platform, used for a machine, on a production line in a tobacco factory.

Fixed permanent ladder used for height access to a walkway in an outdoor facility.

OSHA's 1910 - Walking/working surfaces and fall protection standards - is effective since January 2017.

This regulation includes a detailed timeline about important future changes:

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

  • Ensuring exposed workers are trained on fall hazards (May 17, 2017),
  • Ensuring workers who use equipment covered by the final rule are trained (May 17, 2017),
  • Inspecting and certifying permanent anchorages for rope descent systems (November 20, 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 (November 19, 2018),
  • Ensuring existing fixed ladders over 24 feet, including those on outdoor advertising structures, are equipped with a cage, well, personal fall arrest system, or ladder safety system (November 19, 2018),
  • Replacing cages and wells (used as fall protection) with ladder safety or personal fall arrest systems on all fixed ladders over 24 feet (November 18, 2036).
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