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OSHA Stair Requirements

Safety is essential for keeping your workplace productive. Our compliance experts have streamlined OSHA guidelines for stairs, ladders, and handrails into a visual, easy-to-scan reference guide.

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ErectaStep products meet OSHA standard 1910.25, ensuring robust fall protection through compliant handrails, stair rail systems, and guardrails as mandated by OSHA standard 1910.28.

Learn more about the difference between IBC and OSHA safety codes here.

STAIRS – OSHA Requirements

Standard stair means a fixed or permanently installed stairway.
Ship, spiral, and alternating tread-type stairs are not considered standard stairs.

Risers9.5″ maximum height. Must be uniform between landingsHeight ClearanceMinimum 6’6” clearance from nose of tread to overhead obstruction
Tread9.5″ minimum tread depth. Must support ≥ 1,000 lbDoor ClearanceMinimum of 22” from edge of open door to edge of platform
Stair Width22″ minimum width between railingsRunways (Catwalks)Minimum 18″ width
Balusters19″ minimum gapLandingsSame width as stairs and at least 30″ in depth
Guardrail42″ high (± 3″). Ship StairsOnly for areas where standard stairs are impractical
50-70 deg, rise 6.5”-11”, tread ≥ 4”, width ≥ 18”
Guardrails Requirements

Guardrails are needed for a platform, runway or stairs taller than 4′ (stair with 3 treads, 4 risers)
No substitutions such as chains

Stair widthEnclosedOne open sideTwo open sides
Under 44″ (1.1 m)At least one handrailOne stair rail system with handrail on open side.One stair rail system each open side.
44″ (1.1 m) – 88″ (2.2 m)One handrail on each enclosed sideOne Stair rail system with handrail on open side and one handrail on enclosed side.

One stair rail system with handrail on each open side.

Larger than 88″ (2.2 m)handrail on each enclosed side and an intermediate handrail located in the middle of the stairOne stair rail system with handrail on open side, one handrail on enclosed side, and one intermediate handrail located in the middle of the stair.One stair rail system with handrail on each open side and one intermediate handrail located in the middle of the stair.

Riser Height1910.25(c)(2) Have a maximum riser height of 9.5 inches (24 cm);
Tread Depth1910.25(c)(3) Have a minimum tread depth of 9.5 inches (24 cm); and
Stair Width1910.25(c)(4) Have a minimum width of 22 inches (56 cm) between vertical barriers
Guardrail1910.29(b)(1) The top edge height of top rails, or equivalent guardrail system members, are 42 inches (107 cm), plus or minus 3 inches (8 cm), above the walking-working surface. The top edge height may exceed 45 inches (114 cm)
Balusters1910.29(b)(2)(iii) Intermediate vertical members (such as balusters) are installed no more than 19 inches (48 cm) apart;
Landings1910.25(b)(4) Stairway landings and platforms are at least the width of the stair and at least 30 inches (76 cm) in depth, as measured in the direction of travel;

LADDERS – OSHA Requirements

A ladder is a device with rungs, steps, or cleats used to gain access to a different elevation.

Fall Protection – New or replacement ladders taller than 24′ require Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS) or Life Support Systems (LSS)

Rungs10″ – 14″ between rungs
Rung distance must be uniform
Grab BarsMust extend 42″ above landing
WidthMinimum 16” wideSafety GateMust have a self-closing safety gate that swings away from ladder
Climbing SideBack Side Sides
Minium 30″ clearance.
24″-30″ requires a deflector plate
Minimum 7″ clearanceMinimum 15″ clearance

GUARDRAILS – OSHA Requirements

Stair rail or stair rail system means a barrier erected along the exposed or open side of stairways to prevent employees from falling to a lower level.

OSHA handrail Requirements

Learn the Differences Between IBC and OSHA Stairs?

ErectaStep’s line of industrial modular metal stairs and industrial maintenance access platforms feature modular, lightweight metal stair components that are as easy to reconfigure as they are to assemble. One of ErectaStep’s components is bolt on aluminum ladders. ErectaStep also has a line of commercial stairs with OSHA or IBC compliance options