Arguments For Safety Cage
- The standards for access and service ladders require a cage from a height of 3m (except for ladders with lifeline).
- The cage gives a psychological feeling of protection, preventing vertigo.
Arguments Against Safety Cage
- In case of a fire, the cage can be an obstacle.
- A person in panic may block the ladder.
- The ladder can't be used with a child or with a back injury.
- The ladder is difficult to use for firefighters with equipment on their backs.
Scientific studies indicate that the cage offers little or no actual protection in a fall.
Study by the Health & Safety Executive UK
Preliminary investigation into the fall-arresting effectiveness of ladder safety hoops
There are several important conclusions drawn by this comprehensive study with simulations, accident analysis, and literature review.
- Based on references, the survey, the accident database, and results from testing, caged ladders cannot provide positive fall-arrest capability, especially in the case of the three-upright design which was tested as part of this research. There is every possibility of a fall down the cage to the ground or other platform.
- There may be a possibility to stop the fall of a worker in certain circumstances, but this depends on the attitude of the worker before and during the fall, and whether or not the worker manages to catch part of his or her body in one of the cage apertures or to trap themselves in the cage some other way. Even if the worker were caught by the cage, it could lead to significant or fatal injury.
- The accidents reviewed indicate that workers fall down cages to the next level and are rarely caught. Injuries have been reported. Even if a fall is halted by limb entanglement within a cage, rescue is extremely difficult.
- No test methods were discovered in research for testing the fall-arresting effectiveness of caged ladders. There are standards for ladder-mounted fall-arrest system (FAS).
- Caged ladders do not provide the same level of protection as ladder-mounted FAS. Some numbers indicate that the protection methods are on a par, but confuse the issues or use evasive language. The vast majority, when referring to protective measures, tend to avoid the subject completely by referring to FAS in terms of fall-arresting effectiveness, and then to caged ladders only in a general protective sense. The whole matter of caged ladder protection is often left vague.