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Swinging gates required for proper ladder protection

| Feb 28, 2017 | Workers' Compensation |

When using ladders on the job, workers in New Jersey will have the appropriate amount of fall protection if they use ladders with self-closing gates. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, gates are superior to the cheaper alternative, chains.

Securing the chain while descending the ladder requires the worker to expose his or her back to the fall hazard and use one hand to reattach the chain. When using a ladder with a swinging gate, there is no need to place oneself in a dangerous position.

The substantial confusion regarding the necessity of having gates around ladders stems from a 1982 letter of interpretation that was issued by OSHA. The letter stated that chains can be used if they provide a degree of fall protection as effective as that of a swinging gate.

In response, and to reduce their expenses, several building equipment manufacturers began providing chains. Eventually, the use of chains instead of gates became customary.

However, OSHA stressed that having a gate at the top of all ladders was a necessity when discussing its November 2016 new rule regarding walking-working surfaces and fall protection. OSHA stated that workers are inadequately protected from falls at holes entrances when using double chains. It further stated that the agency was adopting the current and proposed requirements that the entrances to platform holes and ladderway floors should be offset or have a self-closing gate to sufficiently protect workers from falling.

A personal injury attorney may help an injured employee obtain workers’ compensation. The compensation may be used to recoup lost wages and pay for medical expenses caused by a workplace accident.

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