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Ladders as part of internal escape routes

Guest Presuming Ed

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Guest Presuming Ed

Hi all

I'm the H&S Coordinator at a manufacturing facility. We have an open mezzanine level within the plant and currently the distance from the furthest point on the mez to the nearest fire escape is a little too long. There is currently only one stairwell connecting the mez to the ground floor.

To combat this I want to put in another means of egress from the mez level to shorten the distances involved. Unfortunately space is limited so ideally I'd like to put a ladder there. I'm just trying to get an answer to the question 'does a ladder count as part of the route toward the fire escape from a regulatory pov? In other words is it a suitable egress in those terms? 

Any help would be very much appreciated.




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Hi Ed,

I leave the discussion about the legal aspect to others, however, we provided fold out fire escape ladders to customers with mezzanine floors (including Heathrow baggage handling) and that seemed to satisfy their fire risk assessments. These are usually combined with swing gates etc to prevent the risk of falling. These escape ladders are available with harnesses as well. 

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Fixed ladders are not normally accepted as means of escape under regulations and guidance, however an exception is made for areas that are infrequently used or only resorted to by small numbers, usually under 5, and only staff no public.

So it's not out of the question - bear in mind this assumes all users are fit and able bodied.

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