Does "Subpart X - Stairways and Ladders" Apply to You?

Subpart X applies to all stairways and ladders used in construction, alteration, repair (including painting and decorating), and demolition workplaces and whenever ladders and stairways are required to be provided. Additional requirements for ladders used on or with scaffolds are contained in subpart L - scaffolds. This subpart does not apply to integral components of equipment covered by subpart CC - cranes and derricks as subpart CC exclusively sets forth the circumstances when ladders and stairways must be provided on cranes and derricks. This subpart applies to most employers as most employees will use ladders and stairways during construction work. Do your employees use ladders or stairways? If yes, then this subpart applies to you.

The scope, application and definitions applicable to this subpart standard provides key definitions such as:

Double-cleat ladder - A ladder similar in construction to a single-cleat ladder, but with a center rail to allow simultaneous two-way traffic for employees ascending or descending.

Job-made ladder - A ladder that is fabricated by employees, typically at the construction site, and is not commercially manufactured. This definition does not apply to any individual-rung/step ladders.

Unprotected sides and edges - Any side or edge (except at entrances to points of access) of a stairway where there is no stairrail system or wall 36 inches or more in height, and any side or edge (except at entrances to points of access) of a stairway landing, or ladder platform where there is no wall or guardrail system 39 inches or more in height.

The standard on general requirements provides requirements for both stairways and ladders such as when they are required, when to use double-cleated ladders, keeping access clear, and using stairway and ladder fall protection systems. The subpart provides specific standards for stairways (i.e., general requirements, temporary use, stairrails, handrails, guardrail systems) and ladders (i.e., job-made ladders, use). The subpart also provides a standard on training requirements.

Additional information can be found on the A-Z safety and health topics pages for stairways and ladders, scaffolds, and cranes and derricks.