Cage Ladder

Safe@Heights are leaders in the design, custom fabrication and installation of cage ladders in Brisbane and throughout South East Queensland. 

A roof access ladder is often referred to by using the generic term, cage ladder. But what most people don’t realise is that a cage ladder can describe any type of ladder such as a step type, angled or vertical ladder that has a cage.

We can design and fabricate and install any type of cage ladder system or stairs to perfectly fit your requirements. We are able to provide you a complete solution from start to finish. We do not use any sub contractors and all our installers are experienced and trade qualified carpenters. All our designs are engineered and comply with AS1657:2018

To view our full range of ladders and access solutions click on the button below. 

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When do you need a cage ladder?

We recommend that a cage should be installed on any type of ladder once the vertical height exceeds 3m. The purpose of the cage is to prevent someone from falling off the ladder. This works very well for step type and angled. However this is not the case with a vertical cage ladder as the cage does nothing more than funnel the fall downwards and can even cause more injuries. That is why vertical ladders should have a permanent fall arrest cable system installed. Section 7.2 of the Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces provides further information and guidance on this.

All cage ladders must comply with AS1657:2018 which is the Australian Standard for all ladders, platforms, walkways and guard railing. Strict design criteria must be adhered too.

CAGE LADDER SPECIFICATIONS

AS1657:2018 has very specific guidelines that must be followed when designing and install access ladders and this also includes the specification for cages. 

A ladder cages starting height from the ground must be no lower than 2m and no higher than 2.2m measured from the point where the cage attaches to the ladder directly down to the surface. The space from ladder to cage must not be less than 750mm for angled and vertical ladders and between 900mm and 1000mm for step type depending upon the angle. Maximum distance between hoops vertically must not exceed 2m with the width between cage bars no greater than 150mm.

The cage must extend past the top platform by a minimum of 1000mm. Distance between the cage bars and the ladder stiles must not be less than 50mm (not including where it attaches to the ladder).

There are other criteria that must be met, but these are the main points to be aware of. 

For more information about the rules contained in AS1657 please contact us to speak with one of our design specialists.

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Why Do Ladders Have Cages?

This is a question we get asked quite often. Ladder cages are installed to prevent a person from falling to the side or directly back off a ladder while they are climbing it. But this only applies for angled cage ladders where the angled is no greater than 75°. So this will also include step type ladders which have an angle of between 60° and 70°. Once the angle of the ladder exceeds 75° it is considered a vertical ladder and in accordance with section 7.2 of the Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces Code of Practice you need to use either a permanent of temporary fall arrest system to control the risk of a fall. The reason a cage no longer offers the same level of protection once the angel exceeds 75° is that the person climbing the ladder will now fall straight down instead of sides ways or back. It has been shown that when climbing a vertical caged ladder that if someone falls they are highly likely to get caught up in the cage and cause themselves more injuries compared to there being no cage at all. Hence why the requirement to have some type of fall arrest system.

If a fall arrest system is installed it must be noted that the cage must be removed. It has been shown that it is almost impossible to successfully rescue a fallen worker when suspended inside a cage. For this reason we do not advise that fall arrest systems are installed on caged ladders.

How High Can a Ladder be Before it Needs a Cage?

The Australian Standard AS1657:2018 states in section 7.4.7 that a ladder cage shall be installed where the person could fall more than 6m. However if you consider that the Work Health and Safety Regulation states that the PCBU must control the risk of a fall from one level to another and that where a hazard is identified that the risks must be controlled, we recommend that all ladders that exceed a vertical height of 3m should have a caged installed. This height has become an industry recommendation for the last few years.
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Cage Ladder Regulations

All ladders must comply with the Australian Standard AS1657, which covers ladders, cages, walkway, platforms, guard railing and stairs. In addition to this when designing accessing from one level to another and you are considering a cage ladder, the workplace should also consult the Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces Code of Practice. This Code is an office Code under section 274 of the Work Health and Safety Act.

As a general principle, if you are complying with both of these documents then you would be considered to have complied with your duties as a PCBU under the WHS Act. When looking at these documents and applying them to your workplace situation, you must use the hierarchy of control at all times. Meaning firstly you should be attempting to eliminate the risks in the first place rather than trying to control them. If you are constantly looking at eliminating risk rather than controlling it you will be assured of creating a safer work environment.

For further information on cage ladder regulations and find out what you need to know to keep your workplace safe please contact us.

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Chris Burrow
Managing Director
Compliance Specialist

The No.1 Height Safety
Company in Queensland

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