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printreg, November, 2002
OSHA Regulations Re/Staircases

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From:Debra Jacobson(djacobson@istc.illinois.edu)
Date:Wed, 06 Nov 2002 09:28:22

OSHA commonly will inspect staircases during a compliance inspection. It may be worth your efforts to (re)familiarize yourself with the OSHA standards associated with stairs in industrial facilities. One thing to note, based on experience, when a new construction project is undertaken by your facility be sure to inquire with the contractor and the architect regarding their familiarity with OSHA building design and construction standards. Ultimately the facility is responsible for any non-compliant conditions and correction could be costly.

In addition to the summary below Reference 29 CFR 1910.23 - At least one handrail must be provided, preferably on the right side descending, for stair systems with 4 or more risers (steps). Handrails should be mounted 30-34 inches high. Stair height must be between 6.5 inches and 9.5 inches - see 1910.25 Table D-1.

Spiral staircases are not permitted for industrial applications, except for special limited usage and secondary access situations where it is not practical to provide a conventional stairway.

Debra Jacobson ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fixed Industrial Stairs 29 CFR 1910.24 describes fixed general industrial stairs as either interior or exterior stairs around machinery, tanks, and other equipment, and stairs leading to or from floors, platforms or pits. This section does not apply to stairs used for fire exit purposes, to construction operations, to private residences, or to articulated stairs, such as may be used on floating roof tanks, the angle of which changes with the rise and fall of the base support.

Fixed industrial stairs must be provided for access to and from places of work where operations necessitate regular travel between levels. OSHA requirements include:
* Fixed industrial stairs must be strong enough to carry five times the normal anticipated live load.
* At minimum, any fixed stairway must be able to carry safely a moving concentrated load of 1000 pounds.
* All fixed stairways must be at least 22 inches wide.
* Fixed stairs must be installed at angles to the horizontal of between 30 and 50 degrees.
* Vertical clearance above any stair tread to an overhead obstruction must be at least 7 feet measured from the leading edge of the tread.

OSHA standards do not specify the exact number or placement of landings; however, the National Safety Council recommends a landing at every tenth or twelfth tread. Intermediate landings and platforms on stairways must be no less than the stair width and at least 30 inches long, measured in the direction of travel.

Source: "reg of the day" listserv operated by Tammy Silverthorne @ the Environmental Resource Center

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