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Re: Railings on Stairs - OSHA 1910.23 & the Florida Building Code

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Check this out

Of course the interpretation is from 2004 AND it is a construction requirement question about

§1926.1052(c)(6) and 1926.1052(c)(7)

(6) The height of handrails shall be not more than 37 inches (94 cm) nor less than 30 inches (76 cm) from the upper surface of the handrail to the surface of the tread, in line with the face of the riser at the forward edge of the tread.

The FBC requirement of 34 to 38 seems biased slightly towards the upper range of comfortable hand rail heights.

In the OSHA interpretation letter they cite a U of Michigan study that suggests 33" is optimum with allowable range of +/- 3"

but they also mention that section in the interpretation addresses only the standards applicable to the construction industry

and that
General Industry (29 CFR Part 1910) needs an additional interpretation

So there even appears to be a conflict within OSHA

My suggestion:  go with  a rail height of  34"  with a installation tolerance of +/- 1" & call it good.


On 8/27/07, M. David Finley, P.E., P.A. < davidfinley(--nospam--at)> wrote:

OSHA 1910.23 (e) (2)  requires railings on stairs to be "not more than 34" nor less than 30" inches from the upper surface of top rail to surface of tread in line with face of riser at forward edge of tread"
The Florida Building Code (2005 Supplement) 1009.11.1 requires "Handrail height, measured above stair tread nosings, or finish surface of ramp slope shall be uniform, not less than 34" and not more than 38 inches"  It also allows an exception:  "Handrails for stairs not required to be accessible that form part of a guardrail may be 42" high"
Therefore, for an industrial building in Florida, it appears to me that I have to have the stair railing at exactly 34" or I will be in violation of either the OSHA or FBC requirements.  Has anyone had to deal with this before?  Am I mis-interpreting these sections?  Is there an exception to the FBC for industrial facilities?
David Finley
M. David Finley, P.E., P.A.
2086 SW Main Boulevard - Suite 111
Lake City, FL  32025