Re: Somewhat off-topic steam era historical inquiry

soolinehistory <destorzek@...>

--- In STMFC@..., Andy Sperandeo <asperandeo@...> wrote:

Hi Ron,

Ladder cages weren't mandatory as they are now, but I've seen examples of them in photos dating back to the late 1930s, at least, including some examples on railroad structures. They aren't wrong in the steam era, just not as common as today.

So long,

The old (pre OSHA) rule of thumb used to be that if a ladder was used as part of a regular walkway by workers whose use of the ladder was only incidental to their job, it needed a cage; otherwise it didn't.

As examples, if a ladder connected two levels of catwalk at a refinery and was used by workers that monitored the refinery process, it needed a safety cage. A ladder that led to a roof didn't, since the only reason for it's use was to allow workers access to repair the roof; likewise the ladders up the tower to a water tank, or to a railroad signal head. In these instances, the workers were expected to be aware that they were climbing a steep ladder and use safety belts and lines if necessary. When OHSA entered the picture in 1970 they essentially required body belts or harnesses and safety lines everywhere, unless the ladder had a cage, so it became more common to install cages, not only to limit liability but also to keep from having to inspect, maintain, and certify the safety belts and lines.


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