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RE: handrail and post criteria

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OSHA has a web site where you may download note of clarification. The
dimensions specified by OSHA are nominal.

-----Original Message-----
From: Sherman, William [mailto:ShermanWC(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, December 12, 2000 12:41 PM
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)'
Subject: RE: handrail and post criteria

Another place that UBC and OSHA differ is on required handrail heights at

a) 1997 UBC Section 1003.3.3.6: Top of handrails for stairways to be 34" to
38" above nosing of treads.  

b) OSHA Section 1910.23(e)(2): Top of rail for stair railings to be 30" to
34" above forward edge of tread to upper surface of top rail. 

Apparently only a 34" height meets both "codes". 

Also, OSHA requires the centerline of ladder rungs to be 7" from
obstructions at the "back of ladder" and requires 30" clear on the climbing
side. This adds up to 37" minimum - but standard floor and roof hatches for
ladder access are typically 30"x36"!? Thus standard hatches are 1-inch out
of compliance with OSHA. I asked Bilco about this - they said that OSHA
officials have acknowledged that there is no real need to change an
established industry standard of 30"x36" and no citations have been issued
for such hatches in over 20 years.  

It amazes me that codes and regulations are allowed to go on year after year
with such discrepancies with little apparent attempt to change them for
consistency. (But it also amazes me that we use punch cards for voting in
the year 2000!) For me, the lesson learned is that OSHA is not too strictly
enforced and I would guess that if you meet the building code, you are
unlikely to encounter problems with OSHA.