Knowing When Stairs Need to Be Included in Your Fabrication Project

industrial_stairs.jpgThere are several rules that need to be followed while deciding whether or not to add stairs to a fabrication project, as set forth by OSHA. Let’s take a look at some of the rules in greater detail:

1. Break in Elevation  

When a break in elevation of 19 inches or more exists for the project, and there are no ramps, runways, embankments or personnel hoists in the immediate area, a stairway must be installed to cover the distance.

2. Single Point of Access

If your project, during the course of its making, contains only one point of access between various levels of the surface, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the access point is kept clear of all obstacles for the workers who are operating on the project. In case some sort of restriction makes free passage through the access point difficult, it is again the employer’s responsibility to provide another access point for workers to make use of. A temporary staircase or ladder can be used for the purpose.

3. Different Levels

When there are more than two points of access between levels of the project that are at different elevations, the employer needs to ensure that at least one point of access is always free and available to use. In this case, a temporary ladder, stair or scaffolding may be erected for use by the workers. In other cases, a permanent staircase may also be erected to connect the differing levels.  

Now let’s take a look at the types of stairs that you may need to install for your fabrication project:

Permanent Stairs

These are the type of stairs which are a permanent part of your project. Make sure that all the necessary precautions are taken for the permanent stairs to serve their purpose well. This includes installing stairways between 30 and 50 degrees from the horizontal, ensuring that variations in riser height or stair tread path are not made to exceed 1/4 of an inch in the system, which also includes any foundation structure acting as the bottom tread, adding platforms to doors that open directly in front of the stairway, and securing metal pan treads and landings firmly in place.     

Temporary Stairs

These are the stairs which form a temporary part of your project. They are usually installed for the convenience of the workers who are managing the project, and are dismantled once the work is done. But while these kind of stairs may not be permanent, there can be no compromise on their quality to ensure any sudden collapses don’t endanger the lives of the workers. In case you make use of these types of stairs, make sure not to use skeleton frame metal structures unless the stairs are fit with temporary treads and landings which are secured.

Lastly, while constructing the stairs for your fabrication project, make sure to install appropriate safety equipment which includes stair rails, handrails and midrails to ensure the safe use of the stairs.

If you require stairs for your upcoming construction project then contact Swanton Welding today.

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