These are simple, straight flights connecting two levels, often found in factories, warehouses, and other industrial settings.
Straight industrial stairs are a common sight in many industrial settings due to their simple design, ease of navigation, and the straightforward approach they provide for moving between levels.
What are the primary uses?
- Access to Different Floors: The most basic use of straight industrial stairs is to provide access to different floors in a factory, warehouse, or industrial complex.
- Emergency Exits: In the case of an emergency, like a fire or a chemical spill, straight stairs serve as critical routes for evacuation. They are often a part of the emergency exit routes and fire escapes in industrial settings.
- Maintenance Access: Straight industrial stairs are often used to provide access to areas that need regular or occasional maintenance. This can include machinery, HVAC units, and other equipment that is located at different levels or heights within the facility.
- Access to Elevated Workstations: In many industrial environments, workstations are sometimes placed at elevated levels to accommodate machinery or to make efficient use of space. Straight stairs provide access to these elevated areas.
- Storage Access: Warehouses and industrial complexes often have multi-level storage areas. Straight stairs provide an easy way for workers to access these areas to retrieve or store materials or goods.
- Access to Control Rooms: In certain industries, control rooms or observation decks are placed at higher levels to provide a clear view of the entire operation. Straight stairs offer easy and quick access to these areas.
Straight industrial stairs are a versatile and important part of an industrial environment’s infrastructure, and their design and construction must follow safety regulations to ensure they provide safe and efficient access to different areas.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides specific regulations for the construction and use of stairs in workplaces to ensure the safety of workers. Here are some requirements that need to be considered for OSHA-compliant straight stairs:
- Width: Stairways that serve any building or are part of an occupied space must be at least 22 inches wide. Greater widths may be required for certain high-occupancy or industrial settings.
- Angle: Fixed industrial stairs should have an angle to the horizontal of between 30 to 50 degrees.
- Treads and Risers: OSHA requires that all stairs have uniform riser heights and tread widths. Risers should be a minimum of 6 inches to a maximum of 7.5 inches, while treads should be a minimum of 10 inches. Open risers are permitted if the opening will not allow a 1-inch diameter sphere to pass through.
- Surface: Stair treads should be slip-resistant and free from any hazardous protrusions.
- Railings and Handrails: Stairs with four or more risers, or that rise more than 30 inches, whichever is less, must have at least one handrail. If the width of the stairway exceeds 44 inches, a handrail on both sides is required. If the stairway is more than 88 inches wide, it should have an intermediate handrail every 44 inches. Handrails must be between 30 and 37 inches high.
- Landings: Where doors or gates open directly on a stairway, a platform must be provided that extends at least 20 inches beyond the swing of the door.
- Vertical Clearance: Vertical clearance above any stair tread to any overhead obstruction should be at least 6 feet, 8 inches.
- Loading: Fixed industrial stairs should be designed to carry a load of 50 pounds per square foot.
- Visibility: To avoid accidents, stairway steps should be distinctly marked and well lit.
- Maintenance: Stairs should be kept in clean, safe condition. They should be free of dangerous objects, debris, and materials that could cause a tripping or slipping hazard.
As always, these are general guidelines and may be different in specific situations or jurisdictions. It’s recommended to check the precise OSHA regulations or consult with a safety professional when designing or inspecting workplace stairs.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the International Building Code (IBC) have established guidelines and regulations to ensure that residential straight stairs are safe and accessible. Here are some key features for ADA and IBC-compliant residential straight stairs:
- Width: The minimum width for stairways should be 44 inches according to IBC, although this can be reduced to 36 inches in some residential contexts.
- Rise and Run: The maximum riser height should be 7.75 inches, and the minimum tread depth should be 10 inches as per the IBC. ADA does not explicitly mention riser height and tread depth but the goal is to make stairs accessible for all individuals.
- Handrails: Both ADA and IBC require handrails on both sides of the stairs. According to ADA, handrails should be between 34 and 38 inches high, and according to IBC, they should be between 34 and 38 inches high. The handrails should extend beyond the top and bottom of the stairs, and the ends should be rounded or returned smoothly to the floor, wall, or post.
- Stair Landings: Both ADA and IBC require landings at the top and bottom of the stairs. The landing should be at least as wide as the stairway and at least 60 inches long measured in the direction of travel according to ADA. IBC requires the landing length to be a minimum of 36 inches, measured in the direction of travel.
- Stair Nosing: The IBC states that the nosing should not be more than 1.25 inches and not less than 0.75 inches. ADA recommends nosings that are beveled or rounded.
- Visual Contrast: ADA requires stair nosings to be visually contrasted from the rest of the tread to prevent tripping hazards.
- Guards and Balusters: The IBC requires guards to be a minimum of 42 inches high, and openings in balusters should not allow the passage of a 4-inch diameter sphere.
- Accessible Routes: The ADA requires an accessible route to be provided where stairs are present. This may involve installing ramps, lifts, or elevators.
Please note that while these are general guidelines, the specific rules may vary depending on local building codes and the specific requirements of the ADA and IBC. Always consult with a professional or local building authority when designing or evaluating residential straight stairs for compliance.