In an effort to bring you information about the latest in access solutions for your site-built or modular buildings, mobile construction trailers, and other applications, is covering metal stairs with handrails and the applicable OSHA and IBC stair requirements this month.

Metal Stairs with Handrails

REDD Team in Delhi, LA is one reputable manufacturer of aluminum stairs with handrails that are OSHA-, IBC- and ADA-compliant. The company also offers a wide range of other code-compliant access products, including aluminum pedestrian bridges, aluminum walkways and aluminum wheelchair ramps.

OSHA’s standards apply to all permanent places of employment, except where only domestic, mining, or agricultural work is performed. The general rules for interior and exterior metal stairs that lead to and from other floors or are intended for use around machinery, tanks and other equipment include:

  • Strength: Industrial stairs must be designed for 5 times the normal anticipated live load but no less than a moving concentrated load of 1,000lbs.
  • Width: Fixed stairways must be a minimum of 22 inches wide.
  • Horizontal run: The horizontal run, or length of the stairwell, should be approximately equal to the height of the deck. For example, if the mezzanine deck height is 10 feet, the stairwell should be 10 feet long. 
  • Angle of rise: Rise and tread combinations must be between 30° and 50° at an angle to the horizontal.
  • Risers and treads: OSHA stairs typically require an 8″ open riser and a 9″ tread. Treads must be slip-resistant with nonslip nosings.  Rise height and tread width must be uniform throughout the entire flight.
  • Platforms: Stairway platforms must be at least the width of the stairway and a minimum of 30 inches in length, measured in the direction of travel.
  • Railings and handrails: Standard railings are required on the open sides of all open stairways and platforms with four or more risers. Closed stairways call for handrails at 34″ high on at least one side, preferably the right side descending.
  • Vertical clearance: A minimum vertical clearance of 7 feet between the tread and any overhead obstruction is required.
  • Landings: Both OSHA and IBC require landings at the top and bottom of the stairs.
  • Floor openings: Openings in floors must be guarded by a standard railing on all exposed sides (except at the entrance).

You may be surprised to learn that IBC (International Building Code) requirements are often more stringent than OSHA, especially when it comes to areas that are open to the public and in high traffic areas.  For example:

  • Horizontal run: IBC stairs have a horizontal run that is approximately 1.5 times the deck height, not including landings or handrail extenders, so a 10 foot high mezzanine deck would require an approximate 15 foot long stairwell.
  • Risers and tread: IBC stairs typically have a 7″ closed riser and an 11″ tread.
  • Stair width: IBC stairs must be a minimum of 44″ wide in most cases, (36″ wide n areas served by less than 50 people).
  • Railings and handrails: IBC stairs require 42″ high guardrails and 34″ high handrails on both sides of a stairwell.
  • Landings: IBC landings are typically larger than OSHA at 4′ square.

Safe aluminum access systems can help prevent injury. Install OSHA or IBC metal stairs with handrails for the best possible protection.