Bob Desnoyers Elevator &  Escalator Inspections, Inc.


 Update Warning

Update #1 - Pit Ladders (

When access to the pit is by means of the lowest hoistway door and the pit depth is greater than 900 mm (35 in.) [decreased from 36 in. (914 mm)], a fixed vertical ladder shall be installed.

The ladder shall:

1 - be noncombustible.

2 - be located within reach of the access door.

3 - extend not less than 1 200 mm (48 in.) above the sill of the access door [increased from 42 in. (1 067 mm)] or hand grips shall be provided, indicating to me that the ladder itself (including the rungs, cleats, or steps) may extend above the sill or just the siderails of the ladder may continue above the sill.

4 - have rungs, cleats, or steps that are at least 400 mm (16 in.) wide unless "unavoidable obstructions are encountered." [Your friendly inspector will define "unavoidable".] If you pass the "unavoidable" judgment, the reduced width is 225 mm (9 in.) but you must design the ladder to be as wide as "the available space permits." Remember the siderail clearances. (See No. 7)

5 - have the rungs, cleats, or steps spaced 300 mm (12 in.) on center.

6 - have a clear distance of not less than 180 mm (7 in.) from the centerline of the rungs, cleats, or steps to the nearest permanent object in back of the ladder. This may be reduced to 115 mm (4.5 in.) if "unavoidable obstructions are encountered." If your rungs are too close to a permanent object on the pit wall you can attach cleats in front of each rung or weld more rung material to the front of the existing rung and call it a step. Now you can measure from the center of the two rungs or the cleat. You can modify the ladder to suit the existing long as it is safe and meets the load and design requirements of the authority having jurisdiction.

 Modified Pit Ladder

Modified Pit Ladder

7 - if provided with siderails, have not less than 115 mm (4.5 in.) of clearance from the centerline of the siderails to the nearest permanent object. This nearest permanent object includes to the side as well as in back of the ladder. So keep your hoistway gutter, pit light switch, pit stop switch, and all conduit away from the back and sides of the ladder if you have a clearance problem. It is better to run all of your electrical raceways along the outside of the ladder "wallprint" whenever possible.

Please Note: Individual-rung/step ladders do not appear to be prohibited and the phrase "if provided with siderails" seems to verify this conclusion. If used, individual-rung/step ladders shall extend at least 48 inches above the sill of the access door either by the continuation of the rung spacing as horizontal grab bars or by providing vertical grab bars that shall have the same lateral spacing as the vertical legs of the ladder rails. These types of ladders are rarely seen in elevator pits nowadays but if used they must meet the load and design requirements of the authority having jurisdiction.

 Individual-Rung/Step Ladder

Individual-Rung/Step Ladder

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