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When is a Step Required?

In both industrial and non-industrial environments, the requirement for a step, stair, or ramp is required when there is a break in elevation of 19 inches (48 cm) or more to be OSHA compliant.

One-step ErectaStep units
By Richard Kline
May 03, 2024
Estimated 3 minute read

For industrial environments such as manufacturing facilities, chemical plants, and refineries, any break in elevation of 19 inches or more requires the use of a stair, step, or ramp. This requirement is based on standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which aim to prevent falls and other injuries associated with elevation changes​​.

In both industrial and non-industrial environments, the requirement for a step, stair, or ramp is required when there is a break in elevation of 19 inches (48 cm) or more to be OSHA compliant.

Here’s an example of two different industrial facilities with a 1-step ErectaStep unit installed to be OSHA compliant and, as importantly, provide safe access points for workers to navigate around the plant. Because ErectaStep’s metal stairs are modular with parts always in stock, these units could be shipped and installed the next day. No engineering or fabrication is needed; they are just anchored to the cement without special tools.

ErectaStep’s Easy Solutions – Both Compliance and Safety

ErectaStep’s pre-engineered, modular, and fully compliant metal stairs, platforms, and crossovers are easy to meet OSHA standards. Our modular stairs not only save time and are cost-efficient, but they’re also adaptable to a variety of industrial and commercial environments. The modularity of ErectaStep’s products ensures that they can fit the specific needs of any site, helping to prevent common workplace incidents such as trips, slips, and falls by providing reliable access solutions​​​​.

Key Benefits of ErectaStep Stair Units

  • OSHA Compliant: All ErectaStep stair and access platforms meet the critical safety standards set by OSHA, ensuring that they help maintain a safe working environment​​.
  • Modularity and Customization: The modular design allows for quick assembly and easy adaptation to various heights and configurations, making them ideal for virtually any application​​.
  • Durability: Constructed from industrial-grade materials, ErectaStep’s products are designed to withstand harsh environments without succumbing to rust or degradation​​.
  • Ease of Installation: ErectaStep’s products are prefabricated and designed for easy onsite assembly, requiring no welding and minimal tools​​.
At what height does OSHA require stairs?

19 Inches (48 cm) – Stairs or ladders are required for elevation changes of 19 inches or more

Practical Application in Industrial Settings

ErectaStep’s solutions are prominently used where quick and safe access is needed over obstacles such as pipes, dike walls, or uneven ground. Our product range, from simple one-step units to complex multi-level stair systems, allows facilities to implement safety measures without engineering, welding, or custom fabrication.

An example of a complex valve access tower installation at a Colonial Pipeline facility


Understanding when a step is required to maintain safety standards in any facility is important. By integrating ErectaStep’s compliant and customizable stair solutions, businesses can enhance the safety and accessibility of their operations, ensuring that they not only meet regulatory requirements but also protect their employees from potential hazards. For more detailed information on implementing these solutions in your facility, consider contacting ErectaStep for a consultation or a demonstration of their products​​.

Tom provides OSHA-compliant prefabricated solutions including Universal Platforms, Platform Handrails, Safety Stairs, Ladder Units, and Tower Supports. At ErectaStep, recognized as the world’s largest safety stair manufacturer, he contributes to delivering faster and simpler alternatives to custom fabrication. Tom's role encompasses offering the YellowGate, and RollaStep mobile work platforms for customizable solutions, ensuring safe and efficient access across various industries and applications.