OSHA Regulations for Industrial Metal Stairs

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) with the primary goal of preventing workplace fatalities and serious injuries. OSHA is responsible for developing and enforcing safety and health standards to protect workers. The agency provides resources, training, and assistance to employers and employees to ensure a safe working environment. Under the OSH Act, employers bear the responsibility of providing a workplace that is free from hazards and adheres to OSHA’s safety and health standards.

OSHA compliance regarding industrial metal stairs is crucial for the safety and productivity of your facility. It ensures employee safety, fulfills legal obligations, promotes consistency with industry best practices, reduces risks, and positively impacts employee morale and productivity. By following OSHA regulations, you can create a safer workplace and prevent accidents on industrial metal stairs. Below you will find the OSHA codes that apply to fixed, industrial stairs.

OSHA Stair part - Industrial Metal Stairs

Landings, Platforms & Catwalks

Platforms and catwalks can be placed at the top, middle, or bottom of a set of metal stairs.

  • Width:  Platforms must be at least the width of the stairs. (1910.25(b)(4))
  • Depth: Platforms must be at least 30 inches deep, as measured in the direction of travel. (1910.25(b)(4))
  • Door or gate present: The door or gate must open up onto a platform, and the swing of the door does not reduce the platform’s depth to 1) less than 20 inches for platforms installed before January 17, 2017 or 2) less than 22 inches for platforms installed on or after January 17, 2017. (1910.25(b)(5)(i) & 1910.25(b)(5)(ii))
OSHA compliance stairs platforms

Guardrails & Midrails

As an employer, there is a duty to have a fall-protection system in place when there is an unprotected edge that is 4 or more feet from a lower level; guardrails are the most common fall-protection system used for stairs.

  • Step Guardrail Height: Unlike ADA guidelines, the guardrails in OSHA steps also act as handrails when the top edge of the guardrail is between 36 and 38 inches above the leading edge of the stair tread. (1910.29(f)(1)(iii)(A))
  • Platform Guardrail Height: The top edge of the top guardrail must be 42 inches, plus or minus 3 inches, above the walking surface, measured vertically from the step tread. (1910.29(b)(1))
  • Platform Midrail Height: A system must be put between the steps and the top guardrail to prevent an employee from falling through. Midrails are commonly used in conjunction with the top guard rail. The midrail must be installed at a height midway between the top edge of the guardrail and the walking surface. (1910.29(b)(2))

Step Treads

The step tread is the part of the stairs that you walk on. It can be made from a multitude of decking materials that offer various degrees of traction.

  • Tread depths must be the same between each landing platform. (1910.25(b)(3))
  • The minimum tread depth is 9.5 inches. (1910.25(c)(3))
  • The minimum tread width is 22 inches between the stringers. (1910.25(c)(4))


Risers make up the vertical area between step treads. Risers can be solid or open-back, depending on the required compliance code. OSHA does not require solid risers, so most companies choose to have open-back risers because that style is typically less expensive.

  • Riser heights must be the same between each landing platform. (1910.25(b)(3))
  • The maximum riser height is 9.5 inches. (1910.25(c)(2))


Footplates are bolted into the ground to secure the stair system.

Sources: OSHA regulations for fixed, industrial stairs: 1910.25 & 1910.29

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