Aluminum Exterior and Crossover Ladder Units

You’ll find aluminum exterior ladders on millions of homes and buildings in the U.S. They provide easy access to roofs under 20 feet high. Clients often install exterior roof access ladders and crossover ladder units beside tanks, refineries, vats, elevator pits, water towers, chimneys, and ventilation systems.

Again, both commercial and residential properties can have an aluminum exterior or crossover ladder. However, since exterior ladders are primarily used in industrial settings, they also abide by specific Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. Note that workers rely on them for rooftop access. You’ll violate several workplace safety protocols if you cut corners and skimp on quality ladders.

If you need heavy-duty OSHA-compliant exterior ladders and aluminum crossover ladder units, turn straight to Alaco Ladder Company. Alaco Exterior Roof Access Ladders are designed for permanent outside access to rooftops that are less than 20 ft. high. Ladders are available in handrail-only configurations or with different types of return structures at the top. Custom-made ladder brackets are also available to fit unusual wall surfaces or configurations.

Alaco Exterior Roof Access Ladders feature a standard mill finish and are also an excellent choice for chimneys, towers, vats, refineries, and other industrial applications. Our aluminum exterior ladder models meet the following OSHA standards:


We manufacture reasonably sized rungs to make it easy for clients to meet the minimum distance requirements. OSHA requires at least 4″ between the nearest structure and the rung central line. However, if you had your ladder installed before 1983, you’ll need to maintain a distance of 7″. Of course, we’d rather you just replace your ladder in this instance altogether.


If the aluminum ladder passes through overhead openings or obstructions (i.e., pits, walls), we can adjust the rung sizes to meet a minimum clearance of 24″. We can also provide deflection devices for wider gaps. You’ll find these adjustments helpful if you have a tunneled aluminum crossover ladder, elevator pit access, or roof return.

1917.118(d)(6) and (7)

Standards 1917.118(d)(6) to (7) focus on side rail positions. The first standard number dictates that rails must extend no less than 36″ overhead the top landing surface. Otherwise, you’ll need an alternative grab bar. Don’t worry—our team can help you with either handrail solution that you choose for your aluminum crossover ladder or roof access staircase.

Meanwhile, 1917.118(d)(7) prohibits consumers from using exterior ladders horizontally slanting 90°. Fortunately, we can adjust the rails according to your ladder’s surrounding objects.


Our cage ladders higher than 30 feet no longer fall under standard OSHA-compliant exterior ladders, so we had to modify them according to standards 1917.118(e)(2). For instance, each section must cap at 30 feet and offset horizontally.

Also, the top landing platform would have to follow a minimum load capacity of 100 lbs. per square foot. Of course, the rails are still non-negotiable.


According to the standard 1917.118(e)(4), you must install OSHA-compliant exterior ladders and aluminum crossover ladders according to the manufacturer’s rated limits. Safety inspectors will also use manufacturer guidelines as the standard. Fortunately, we can help all our clients install and set up their staircases correctly, thus avoiding potential violations.

The Limits of an OSHA-compliant Exterior Ladder

The standards we mentioned above apply to all fixed extension ladders and staircases used to access roofs with a vertical clearance of fewer than 20 feet. OSHA also has other guidelines for fixed ladders that don’t meet these criteria.

Whether you’re an employer, developer, or landlord, you’d do well to familiarize yourself with exceptions stated in standards 1917.118(a)(1) to 1917.118(a)(4). Generally, you can’t call a staircase a fixed extension ladder if it:

  • Plays a crucial role in the tracks of highway carriers, railways cars, and cargo containers, among other transportation solutions.
  • Serves as the only climbing device available for structures like towers and tanks.
  • Vertically attaches to temporary structures like tubular scaffolding or planks.
  • Can only be accessed during emergencies like fires or break-ins.

Get High-Quality Aluminum Exterior Ladder Models

Make the switch to OSHA-compliant exterior ladders today. Cheap, low-grade stairs might cost less, but they also endanger you and everyone around. Remember: hundreds die from falling off ladders. Whether you have a residential or commercial property, you should never compromise safety to save a few bucks.

Are you struggling to find the right ladder? Reach out to Alaco Ladder Company so that our sales team can explain to you all the features of the aluminum exterior ladder models available in our catalog. We have everything from aluminum crossover ladders to roof access stairs. Calll (888) 310-7040 now!

Roof Ladder Return Options

  • Handrails over roof
  • Roof return structure
  • Parapet return structure
  • Parapet return structure and crossover platform


561 Handrails Over Roof

561-E Elevator Pit Access

561-SE Side Exit

562 Roof Return

563-PR Parapet Return

564-PRPC Parapet Return With Crossover Platform

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