These ladders have a platform at the top for the safety of the user while working.
Industrial platform ladders, also known as work platforms or podium ladders, are widely used in a range of industries to provide workers with a safe, stable, and convenient way to perform tasks at height.
What are the primary uses:
- Maintenance Work: Platform ladders are commonly used in industrial settings for maintenance tasks such as repairing machinery, performing inspections, or cleaning equipment.
- Stock Handling and Order Picking: In warehouses or large stores, platform ladders can provide access to high shelves or racks, making it easier to retrieve or store items.
- Construction and Building: In construction sites, platform ladders provide a stable work platform for tasks such as painting, plastering, or installation work. They can also be used for tasks like electrical installations or plumbing.
- Manufacturing Processes: In manufacturing or production facilities, platform ladders can be used to oversee or control various stages of the manufacturing process, or to maintain and service production machinery.
- Aviation and Automotive Industry: Platform ladders are used for aircraft and vehicle maintenance, allowing workers to safely reach high parts of the aircraft or vehicles.
- Shipping and Maritime Industry: In shipping yards or on ships, platform ladders can provide access to high containers or parts of the ship that are otherwise hard to reach.
- Utilities: In utility companies, platform ladders are used for tasks such as servicing transformers or power lines, or maintaining water treatment facilities.
One of the key features of platform ladders is their broad and stable platform, which allows workers to stand safely with both feet and have both hands free to work. They often include safety features such as guardrails and anti-slip steps. As with all ladders, it’s crucial to follow safety guidelines and regulations when using them.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides detailed safety guidelines for the use, construction, and design of industrial platform ladders. Key requirements for an OSHA-compliant industrial platform ladder include:
- Stability and Construction: Platform ladders must be stable and capable of supporting at least four times the maximum intended load. The construction material, typically steel, aluminium, or fibreglass, should be durable and robust.
- Platform Design: The platform must be at least 20 inches in width and length. The height of the platform should not exceed four times its base width unless it is secured against overturning. It should also have a standard railing and toeboard around all open sides of the platform, excluding the entrance.
- Access to Platform: A secure access should be provided to the platform. If a ladder is used for access, it must be affixed or built into the structure.
- Guardrails and Handrails: If the platform is four feet or higher off the ground, guardrails and handrails should be installed for safety.
- Steps: The steps of a platform ladder should be uniformly spaced with a rise between 6 to 7.5 inches and a depth of at least 10 inches. The steps should also be slip-resistant.
- Inspection and Maintenance: Regular inspection should be done for any defects, wear, and tear, and immediate repairs should be carried out. If a ladder is found to be damaged, it should be removed from service until it is repaired.
- Training: Workers should be trained on how to use platform ladders safely, including the correct way to ascend and descend, how to handle tools and materials, and how to maintain their balance.
Always refer to the most recent OSHA standards for accurate and detailed guidelines. Remember that safety should be a top priority when using platform ladders.
Commercial platform ladders that comply with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and IBC (International Building Code) standards incorporate specific safety features to ensure user safety and accessibility. These standards regulate the design, construction, and use of these ladders to minimize risks and ensure safety. Here are some key features of OSHA and IBC compliant commercial platform ladders:
- Platform Design: At the top of the ladder, there should be a platform with guardrails to prevent falls. This platform should be capable of supporting at least four times its intended load.
- Locking Mechanism: The ladder should be equipped with a locking mechanism or spreader braces to prevent the ladder from collapsing while in use.
- Steps: Steps must be uniformly spaced and have a slip-resistant surface. The steps leading to the platform are often narrower than the platform itself, and the platform should be no more than 20 inches below the uppermost rung.
- Rails and Guardrails: The ladder should have handrails or side rails for added stability and safety. Guardrails should be present around the platform area for added protection.
- Size and Duty Rating: The ladder must be the appropriate size for the job and have a duty rating sufficient to support the combined weight of the worker and any tools or equipment.
- Condition: Ladders should be regularly inspected for visible defects, corrosion, or other safety issues. Any ladder found to be defective should be immediately taken out of service.
- Use: As with all ladders, platform ladders should only be used on a stable and level surface unless they are secured to prevent accidental displacement.
While OSHA sets minimum safety standards for workplace equipment, the specifics of IBC codes can vary by location. Always consult with a safety professional or local building authority to ensure full compliance with all applicable regulations.