Working from ladders

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Joined: 03 Apr 2018, 21:44

Working from ladders

Unread post by Theunsv01nor » 03 Apr 2018, 21:54

Hi Tinus

When working at heights, from what height do you need harnesses for ladders?
And from what height are you not allowed to use a ladder but need to use scaffolding or other means?

Posts: 61
Joined: 14 Jan 2016, 06:56

Re: Working from ladders

Unread post by Maxicus » 06 Apr 2018, 08:21


This is difficult to say because the construction regulations have this to say:
"fall risk" means any potential exposure to falling either from, off or into.
"fall protection plan" means a documented plan, which includes and provides for-
(a) all risks relating to working from a fall risk position, considering the nature of work undertaken;
(b) the procedures and methods to be applied in order to eliminate the risk of falling; and
(c) a rescue plan and procedures;

it does not say at witch heights you need to use a safety harness, it only specifies that if there is a risk of falling, that control measures should be in place. most organisations still apply the fall from 2 meter principle requires a safety harness. it isn't always practical to use a safety harness on a ladder. however some means of prevention, protection, and rescue must be in place regardless of the height. a fall protection planner will be able to assess the risk and provide suitable control measures within the fall protection plan.

the General Safety Regulations have this to say:
6. Work in elevated Positions:
No employer shall require or permit any person to work in an elevated position, and no person shall work in an elevated position, unless such work is performed safely from a ladder or scaffolding, or from a position where such person has been made as safe as if he were working from scaffolding.

13A(1) Ladders:
An employee shall ensure that every ladder is constructed of sound material and is suitable for the purpose for which it is used, and -
(3) No employer may permit that -
(a) a ladder which is required to be leaned against an object for support be used which is longer than 9 m; and
(b) except with the approval of an inspector, the reach of a ladder be extended by fastening together two or more ladders: Provided that the provisions of this subregulation shall not apply to extension of free-standing ladders.

A ladder can be as long as you want it to be: taking example of tower crane, however these tower cranes have resting platforms every 8 meter in height, and the ladder does not lean against a structure but is fixed to it in a vertical position, it's not your ordinary mobile ladder.

I would also suggest you consider the work that will be performed from the ladder, weather conditions, an much more before deciding that people should climb a tall ladder and perform work. a fall protection planner and fall protection plan should be in place.

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Joined: 16 Apr 2009, 11:06

Re: Working from ladders

Unread post by tinus » 09 Apr 2018, 11:47


Also look at Contruction Regualtion 9 & 10 (it needs to be part of your fall protection plan).

Tinus Boshoff
Health and Safety Expert
SA Labour Guide Forum Team

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