February 5, 2014
On Feb. 5, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) released a new guide on ladder safety designed to provide greater clarity and assistance for complying with MSHA ladder safety standards.
“The improper use and maintenance of ladders in metal/non-metal mines can have serious consequences, including injuries and death,” writes Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph A. Main in a letter introducing the guidance. “As with other compliance initiatives undertaken by the agency in recent years, I expect our ladder safety guide will result in improved compliance, more consistent enforcement, and, ultimately, reduced injuries and deaths of miners.”
Like previous guidance issued for guarding, the topic is covered through images and explanatory text via a PowerPoint presentation.
Some of the topics covered include: ladder construction and maintenance; requirements specific to fixed and portable ladders; underground ladders and travelways; and the differentiation between ladder standards and safe access standards.
As you review the presentation, be sure to review the notes that accompany the image as they offer pertinent information about what is (and is not) considered acceptable in each image.
The guidance also highlights two ladder-related fatalities, one involving a miner who fell nearly 50 feet from a stepladder that had been set up on an elevated platform and another involving sections of a portable extension ladder that were separated with the top section being used without slip-resistant bases.