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RE: OSHA Stairs

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Recently Bill Sherman posed a question about OSHA stair requirements.  I had
our safety officer (Paul Hamari) pass this on to our OSHA answer guy (Wade
Cooper cooper-wade(--nospam--at)

Following is his response.

Harold Sprague
The Neenan Company


In reply, first of all it should be recognized that 1910.24(c) does not
apply to construction activities, it applies only to general industry
activities and those other activities referencing it.  Therefore, it is not
applicable during the construction or installation of the stairs.  It should
also be realized that the 1910.24(c) criteria is not applicable to stairs
used exclusively for fire exits, private residences, or articulated stairs. 

In addressing your questions, I have attempted to find out more specifically
what is meant by 1910.24(c) by trying to find the original final register
which made it a final rule.  I have not been able to locate it yet but have
our librarian working on it.  It is clear however, that this standard
existed in the July 1, 1974 edition of 29CFR and is therefore fairly old.
Should I be able to find out more able it, I'll pass it to you when

In the meantime, you should be aware that OSHA allows conformance with
current consensus standards, such as the UBC's design requirements, as long
as the current consensus standard is as effective as our regulations.
Since this UBC design criteria is universally acceptted in the engineering
community, OSHA should not have any problems with any stairs which are
designed and constructed in accordance with it.  Thus, you are encouraged to
continue designing using the current UBC criteria as well as other current
consensus standards and should not worry about what is meant by 1910.24(c).

I regret that I could not find you a more clearer answer as to what was
meant by 1910.24(c), however, any information obtained will be forwarded to
you.  Thanks for your concern to provide a safe and healthy environment.


-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Sherman [mailto:SHERMANWC(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Monday, December 14, 1998 1:06 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: OSHA stairs

For fixed industrial stairs, OSHA requires in paragraph 1910.24-(c): "Fixed 
stairways shall be designed and constructed to carry a load of five times
the normal live load anticipated but never of less strength than to carry
safely a moving concentrated load of 1,000 pounds."  UBC requires exit
stairways to be designed for 100 psf or a concentrated load of 300-pounds.
If you are installing a stair in an industrial building which could also act
as an exit stairway, how is OSHA to be applied?   
Are the loads given by OSHA to be applied as "working loads" at basic 
allowable stress or to be compared to yield or ultimate strengths?  For a
live load of 100 psf, do they really mean to design the stair for 5 times
100 psf?  
If the stair is not an exit stair, what does "normal live load anticipated 
mean"?  I find the inconsistency in these provisions rather confusing and 
difficult to apply.