Using gates with ladders may provide better fall protection than using chains. The incorrect use of chains as protection on ladders can result in hazardous situations. South Carolina workers who routinely use ladders to perform their tasks should be aware of how to properly secure them to prevent falls.

To reattach a chain while going down a ladder, a worker has to stand on the ladder and use one hand to reattach the chain. However, this forces the worker to have his or her back to the hazard. In lieu of using the chain, workers can use a self-closing gate. The opening will always be protected, and the chances that errors will occur by the user will be eliminated.

There is a significant amount of misinformation regarding the need for gates around ladders. This may be a result of an interpretation letter that was issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 1982. According to the letter, chains can be used instead of a gate if the chain is able to provide the level of protection that can be provided a swinging gate. The manufacturers of building equipment, such as aboveground tanks and overhead cranes, that required the use of gates began providing chains to reduce production costs. Eventually, the use of chains instead of gates became the norm. However, OSHA asserts that workers are not fully protected from falls at holes’ entrances by double chains. The agency has now mandated that a gate at the top of all ladders is a requirement.

Individuals who are injured as a result of unsafe ladder use may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. A personal injury attorney may assist an injured worker with filing a claim so that the worker may be able to pay medical expenses and recoup lost wages.