From 2011 to 2016, 836 employees received fatal injuries in the workplace due to ladders. The Department of Labor identified the primary cause of fatal falls occurring due to the object or surface that the employee fell from.

Ladders are routinely on OSHA’s list of most cited violations so ladder safety should be a priority for every employer. The fixed and portable ladder standard guides employers on safe working practices involving ladders which we’ve highlighted below!

  • [1926.1053] – Specifications, Inspection, Maintenance of Fixed and Portable Ladders
  • [1926.1053(a)(18-23)] – Fixed Ladder Cages
  • [1926.1053(b)(6)] – Use on Level Surfaces
  • [1926.1053(b)(13)] – Denial of the Top Step
  • [1926.1053(b)(20)] – Direction when climbing the ladder
  • [1926.1053(b)(21)] – One hand rule

Does the Fixed and Portable Ladder standard apply to me?

Quite possibly. Under OSHA’s General Duty Clause (Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act) employers are responsible for protecting their employees from a hazardous working environment.

Learn more about fall prevention standards at

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Fixed and Portable Ladders

Revision: 0
Date: 6/6/2023
Prepared by:
Approved by:


1.1 Purpose

The purpose of this procedure is to establish requirements for design, installation, use, care, and maintenance of fixed ladders.

1.2 Scope

This section applies to all operating units.

1.3 Specifications

Fixed ladders should be designed, fabricated, and erected in accordance with the requirements contained in 29 CFR 1910 and 29 CFR 1926.

The minimum design live load shall be a single concentrated load of 200 pounds.

All rungs shall have a minimum diameter of 3/4 inch for metal ladders and a minimum diameter of 1 1/8 inches for wood ladders.

The distance between rungs, cleats, and steps shall not exceed 12 inches and shall be uniform throughout the length of the ladder.

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