OSHA Stair Requirements to Keep Your Workplace Safe and Productive

When it comes to keeping your workplace productive there’s nothing more important than safety. That’s why we’ve compiled this guide to OSHA stair requirements. Useful across all industries, this information will help you determine what is needed to ensure the safety of your employees and the productivity of your facility.

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OSHA Stair Requirements

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All ErectaStep stairs comply with OSHA standard 1910.25 which covers all stairways including standard, spiral, ship, and alternating tread-type stairs. As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure all workers have adequate fall protection and falling object protection including handrails, stair rail systems, and guardrail systems according to OSHA standard 1910.28.

Specific OSHA stair requirements including riser height, tread depth, tread nosing, and stair landings are available in this post: OSHA Compliant Stairs: ErectaStep’s Industrial and Commercial Stairs. You can also learn more about the difference between IBC and OSHA safety codes here. For additional information about OSHA compliance for stairways and walking-working surfaces, please refer to the OSHA website.


STAIRS – OSHA Requirements

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

Stair width Enclosed One open side Two open sides
Under 44″ (1.1 m) At least one handrail One 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 side One 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 stair One 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.

GENERAL stairs ≥ 4’ H or w/3 treads and 4 risers require a stair rail/stair rail system

TREADS must support ≥ 1,000 lb, minimum depth ≥ 9.5”

RISERS must be uniform between landings, 30-50 deg, ≤ 9.5” H

WIDTH ≥ 22” between railings

RAILINGS open-sided stairs < 44” require 1 stair rail/side; open-sided stairs > 44” require 1 stair rail and 1 separate handrail/side

HEIGHT CLEARANCE minimum 6’6” clearance from nose of tread to overhead obstruction

SHIP STAIRS only usable where standard stairs are impractical, 50-70 deg, rise 6.5”-11”, tread ≥ 4”, width ≥ 18”

Platforms and Runways

GENERAL a platform or runway higher than 4’ requires guardrails, no substitution (i.e., no chains or other barriers)

PLATFORMS must be ≥ width of stairs and ≥ 30” deep

RUNWAYS (Catwalks) must be ≥ 18” W

DOOR CLEARANCE ≥ 22” from edge of open door to edge of platform


LADDERS – OSHA Requirements

Ladder means a device with rungs, steps, or cleats used to gain access to a different elevation.

 

GENERAL new or replacement ladders ≥ 24’ H require PFAS or LSS

RUNGS must be uniform and between 10” – 14” apart; ≥ 16” wide

CLEARANCES ≥ 30” on climbing side or 24” w/ deflector plate, ≥ 7” on back side, 15” from centerline

GRAB BARS must extend 42” above landing

SAFETY GATE must have a self-closing gate that swings away from ladder, w/top rail and midrail


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.

What are the OSHA stair requirements?

Figure depicts Minimum tread width 22 IN (56 CM), Minimum Tread Depth 9.5 IN (24 CM), Maximum Riser Height 9.5 IN (24 CM).Riser height – 6 to 7.5 inches (15.24 to 19.05 cm)
Stair width a minimum of 22 inches (55.88 cm)
Tread depth of a minimum of 12±2 inches (30.48±5.08 cm)
Tread nosing – straight leading edges.
Stair landings at least 20 inches (50.8 cm) in depth.

What are the OSHA requirements for ladders?

Rungs, cleats, and steps of portable ladders and fixed ladders should be a minimum of 10 inches (25 cm) apart and no larger than 14 inches (36 cm) apart, as measured between center lines of the rungs, cleats, and steps.

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

Ladder Rung Spacing

  • Revised OSHA Code
  • 1910.23(b)(2)
    • Ladder rungs, steps, and cleats are spaced not less than 10 inches (25 cm) and not more than 14 inches (36 cm) apart, as measured between the centerlines of the rungs, cleats, and steps
  • Product Lines Affected:
    • ErectaStep / PerfectaStep
  • Current ErectaStep Ladder Rung Spacing:
    • 9 Inches
  • New OSHA Ladder Rung Spacing:
    • 10 Inches (min)

Standard Stairs – Tread Depth

  • New OSHA Code
  • 1910.25(c)(3)
    • Have a minimum tread depth of 9.5 inches (24 cm); and
  • 1910.25(c)(4)
    • Have a minimum width of 22 inches (56 cm) between vertical barriers
  • Product Lines Affected:
    • ErectaStep / PerfectaStep
  • Current ErectaStep tread depth (i.e. width):
    • 9 Inches
  • New OSHA tread depth (i.e. width):
  • 9.5 Inches

Stair Rail or Stair Rail System

  • Revised OSHA Code
  • 1910.28(b)(11)(ii)
    • Each flight of stairs having at least 3 treads and at least 4 risers are equipped with stair rail systems and handrails.
  • Revised OSHA Code
  • 1910.29(f)(1)(ii)
    • The height of stair rail systems meets the following:
  • 1910.29(f)(1)(ii)(A)
    • The height of stair rail systems installed before January 17, 2017 is not less than 30 inches (76 cm) from the leading edge of the stair tread to the top surface of the top rail; and
  • 1910.29(f)(1)(ii)(B)
    • The height of stair rail systems installed on or after January 17, 2017 is not less than 42 inches (107 cm) from the leading edge of the stair tread to the top surface of the top rail.
  • Product Lines Effected:
    • SafeRack / ErectaStep / PerfectaStep / RollaStep
  • Current Stair Rail System height:
    • ES/PS/RS – 34 inches
    • SR            32 inches
  • New OSHA Stair Rail System height:
    • 42 Inches

OHSA 1910.25 covers standards for all stairways (including a standard, spiral, ship, and alternating tread-type stairs). Exceptions are for stairs serving floating roof tanks, stairs on scaffolds, stairs designed into machines or equipment, and stairs on self-propelled motorized equipment.

The employer is responsible for employee safety on fixed stairways such as roof access stairs, crossover stairs, loading dock stairs, in-plant office stairs are all common workplace stairs. They must follow the regulations described below.

1910.25(b) General requirements. The employer must ensure:

 

1910.25(b)(1) Handrails, stair rail systems, and guardrail systems are provided in accordance with § 1910.28;

 

1910.25(b)(2) Vertical clearance above any stair tread to any overhead obstruction is at least 6 feet, 8 inches (203 cm), as measured from the leading edge of the tread. Spiral stairs must meet the vertical clearance requirements in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

 

1910.25(b)(3) Stairs have uniform riser heights and tread depths between landings;

 

1910.25(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;

 

1910.25(b)(5) When a door or a gate opens directly on a stairway, a platform is provided, and the swing of the door or gate does not reduce the platform’s effective usable depth to:

 

1910.25(b)(5)(i) Less than 20 inches (51 cm) for platforms installed before January 17, 2017; and

 

1910.25(b)(5)(ii) Less than 22 inches (56 cm) for platforms installed on or after January 17, 2017 (see Figure D-7 of this section);

 

1910.25(b)(6) Each stair can support at least five times the normal anticipated live load, but never less than a concentrated load of 1,000 pounds (454 kg) applied at any point;

 

1910.25(b)(7) Standard stairs are used to provide access from one walking-working surface to another when operations necessitate regular and routine travel between levels, including access to operating platforms for equipment. Winding stairways may be used on tanks and similar round structures when the diameter of the tank or structure is at least 5 feet (1.5 m).

1910.25(b)(8)

Spiral, ship, or alternating tread-type stairs are used only when the employer can demonstrate that it is not feasible to provide standard stairs.

1910.25(b)(8)

Spiral, ship, or alternating tread-type stairs are used only when the employer can demonstrate that it is not feasible to provide standard stairs.

1910.25(b)(9)

When paragraph (b)(8) of this section allows the use of spiral, ship, or alternating tread-type stairs, they are installed, used, and maintained in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

Figure D-6 -- Door or Gate Opening on Stairway.

Figure D-7 — Door or Gate Opening on Stairway.

1910.25(c)

Standard stairs. In addition to paragraph (b) of this section, the employer must ensure standard stairs:

1910.25(c)(1)

Are installed at angles between 30 to 50 degrees from the horizontal;

1910.25(c)(2)

Have a maximum riser height of 9.5 inches (24 cm);

1910.25(c)(3)

Have a minimum tread depth of 9.5 inches (24 cm); and

1910.25(c)(4)

Have a minimum width of 22 inches (56 cm) between vertical barriers (see Figure D-8 of this section).

1910.25(c)(5)

Exception to paragraphs (c)(2) and (3) of this section. The requirements of paragraphs (c)(2) and (3) do not apply to standard stairs installed prior to January 17, 2017. OSHA will deem those stairs in compliance if they meet the dimension requirements specified in Table D-1 of this section or they use a combination that achieves the angle requirements of paragraph (c)(1) of this section.

Table D-1 — Stairway Rise and Tread Dimensions

Angle to horizontal Rise (in inches) Tread run (in inches)
30 deg. 35′ 6 1/2 11
32 deg. 08′ 6 3/4 10 3/4
33 deg. 41′ 7 10 1/2
35 deg. 16′ 7 1/4 10 1/4
36 deg. 52′ 7 1/2 10
38 deg. 29′ 7 3/4 9 3/4
40 deg. 08′ 8 9 1/2
41 deg. 44′ 8 1/4 9 1/4
43 deg. 22′ 8 1/2 9
45 deg. 00′ 8 3/4 8 3/4
46 deg. 38′ 9 8 1/2
48 deg. 16′ 9 1/4 8 1/4
49 deg. 54′ 9 1/2 8

 

Minimum tread width 22 IN (56 CM), Minimum Tread Depth 9.5 IN (24 CM), Maximum Riser Height 9.5 IN (24 CM).

1910.25(d)

Spiral stairs. In addition to paragraph (b) of this section, the employer must ensure spiral stairs:

1910.25(d)(1)

Have a minimum clear width of 26 inches (66 cm);

1910.25(d)(2)

Have a maximum riser height of 9.5 inches (24 cm);

1910.25(d)(3)

Have a minimum headroom above spiral stair treads of at least 6 feet, 6 inches (2 m), measured from the leading edge of the tread;

1910.25(d)(4)

Have a minimum tread depth of 7.5 inches (19 cm), measured at a point 12 inches (30 cm) from the narrower edge;

1910.25(d)(5)

Have a uniform tread size;

1910.25(e)

Ship stairs. In addition to paragraph (b) of this section, the employer must ensure ship stairs (see Figure D-9 of this section):

1910.25(e)(1)

Are installed at a slope of 50 to 70 degrees from the horizontal;

1910.25(e)(2)

Have open risers with a vertical rise between tread surfaces of 6.5 to 12 inches (17 to 30 cm);

1910.25(e)(3) – Have minimum tread depth of 4 inches (10 cm); and

 

1910.25(e)(4) – Have a minimum tread width of 18 inches (46 cm).

Figure D-9 -- Ship Stairs.
Figure D-9 — Ship Stairs.

 

1910.25(f) Alternating tread-type stairs. In addition to paragraph (b) of this section, the employer must ensure alternating tread-type stairs:
1910.25(f)(1) Have a series of treads installed at a slope of 50 to 70 degrees from the horizontal;

 

1910.25(f)(2) Have a distance between handrails of 17 to 24 inches (51 to 61 cm);

1910.25(f)(3)

Have a minimum tread depth of 8.5 inches (22 cm); and

1910.25(f)(4)

Have open risers if the tread depth is less than 9.5 inches (24 cm);

1910.25(f)(5)

Have a minimum tread width of 7 inches (18 cm), measured at the leading edge of the tread (i.e., nosing).

Figure D-10 -- Angles for Stairs, Ramps, and Ladders. Two figures showing angles for stairs, ramps, and ladders. The first shows from 90 degress to 60 degrees show for ladders. From 70 degrees to 50 degrees show for Alternating Tread-Type Stairs. From 70 degrees to 50 degrees show for Ship Stairs. From 50 degrees to 30 degrees show for Standard Stairs. From 30 degrees to 0 degree show for Ramps. The second is a table showing angle and type. For angles less than or equal to 30 degrees for Ramps. For angles 30 to 50 degrees for Standard Stairs. For angles 50 to 70 degress for Ship Stairs. For angles 50 to 70 degrees for Alternating Tread-Type Stairs. For angles 60 to 90 degrees for Ladders.
Angles for Stairs, Ramps, and Ladders.