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Protect workers using mobile ladder stands
  • Mobile ladder stands are subject to safety requirements that are in addition to the requirements for all ladders.
  • Specific requirements will depend on the height of the stand or platform in relation to the lower level.

The mobile ladder stand and mobile ladder stand platform requirements are in addition to the requirements for all ladders. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) uses performance-based requirements for these units.

Mobile ladder stands and platforms must have handrails on both sides if the top step or platform height is four feet or more above the lower level. The handrail height must be a minimum 29.5 inches to a maximum 37 inches. The distance must be measured from the front edge of a step.

In some applications, OSHA allows removable gates or non-rigid members (such as chains) instead of handrails. For example, if an employee is required to place or remove boxes from a shelf, and a permanent handrail or guardrail system would create a fall risk or interfere with placing or removing the boxes, using a removable gate or chain may be safer. If an employer uses a removable gate or chain, the stand or platform must be placed in such a way so there is no gap between the unit and shelf that could result in a worker falling. After the task is complete, the gate or chain must be replaced.

Mobile ladder platforms with platform heights at least 4 feet and up to 10 feet must have handrails at least 36 inches high, and midrails.

Mobile ladder stands with a top step above 10 feet must have:

  • Protection on three sides by handrails, midrails, and toeboards;
  • Handrails that are at least 36 inches in height;
  • A top step with a depth of at least 20 inches from front to back; and
  • A standing area that is within the base frame.

Mobile ladder platforms above 10 feet must have guardrails that comply with 1910.29(b). They must also have toeboards that comply with 1910.29(k)(1) as follows:

  • Have a height of 3.5 inches,
  • Have a clearance above the platform not more than 0.25-inches,
  • Be solid or have no gap that exceeds 1 inch, and
  • Be capable of withstanding a force of at least 50 pounds, applied downward and outward.