Ladders are more visible in our lives than we might notice. Of course, having read that sentence you may find yourself seeing them more clearly in your day to day life – even in places you could have sworn you had never seen them before. They are the simple solution to getting a little higher and they take up hardly any space due to their totally vertical nature. However, there are some ladders that require a little more space and some extra security. These ladders are known as caged ladders, and they are surrounded by metal bars or mesh to protect the climber from falling off – especially if it’s quite high up. Here is when a ladder needs to be caged, as well as those that are exempt. Why Cage a Ladder? As briefly mentioned before, ladder cages are there to protect you from falling. After all, if you have climbed thirty feet high and have nothing to potentially save you if you fall, that is not only a terrifying situation but also a dangerous one. Caging means that if you did fall you can hold onto the cage bar to regain your balance or use it for extra support if things get a little slippery. It’s both important and incredibly helpful. Caging Requirements At a very basic level, the requirements for a cage are that if a ladder is twenty feet high or more, it should have a protective cage around it. This is quite a reasonable height and it is a rule that is usually upheld. The cage itself must not start any lower than seven feet off the ground. The reason for this is that it allows the climber to get to the ladder without banging their head or causing injury. Yet, even with this restriction, the fall protection is not compromised. There is a great deal of specifics for the width and height requirements of these cages, all of which can be found on the webpage of any authorised and trusted ladder society. These simple rules are almost always strictly followed to prevent any health and safety violations – particularly in office buildings. Ladder Caging Exemptions Perhaps surprisingly, there are actually quite a few exemptions for caging ladders. There are some, despite their incredible height, that do not require any protective caging. Here are some of the main exemptions:
  • Water towers
  • Cranes (some, not all)
  • Chimneys
  • General tanks
So if you have a silo on your land, it does not require a cage to be placed around it. The same goes for buildings such as ski lift towers and smoke stacks. These exemptions may seem a little bizarre, especially considering your warehouse or office building will require a caged ladder, but it’s the law and it can often come down to liability and insurance. After all, a place of work does not want to deal with a law suit from employees who have fallen off the ladders. Places like ski lift towers are often covered by insurance and only climbed by set workers.