It must be a common problem in industrial equipment - comparing your
structure to some other nearby. A common question to me is how come my
framework has cross bracing while our competitor nearby frame does not.
In our company we make a distinction between stairs that service occupied
areas where workers are performing their jobs daily (maybe a manual
spraybooth) and areas where access is only required for maintenance (like an
air supply house).
Our service stairs are built only to meet OSHA requirements, which are
considerably less stringent than the BOCA means of egress stair.
Even with Egress stairs, I, like you, have seen a lot of stairs without the
handrail extensions. It seems to be a common practice to skip them, but we
don't (we once had a fabricator miss the extensions, and the customer did
make us retrofit them)
We still have the dilemma of what stairs are required for egress and which
stairs are for occasional use. For that we rely on our own experience and a
customer approval process. We haven't had to rework stairs yet.
Rich Kipke, PE
1399 Pacific Drive
Auburn Hills, Mi 48326-1569
Direct: (248)-475-5144 Fax: (248)-475-5227