OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 8 Entrances, Walkways, Stairways and Ladders

Section 122 Stairways

Subsection 122(1)

Throughout the length of a stairway, the width of the treads and the height of the rise must not change. This reduces the likelihood of workers tripping or stumbling due to unexpected changes as they move up or down the stairway. Treads must also be level.

Subsection 122(2)

Stairways with five or more risers must be equipped with a handrail meeting the requirements for handrails described in section 123. Handrails provide a handhold that helps workers to prevent falling.

A stairway having an open or unprotected side must not only have a handrail, but must also have an intermediate rail or equivalent safeguard e.g., filled in with expanded metal, solid plywood barricade, etc. In effect, a “guardrail” is being placed across the open or unprotected side of the stairway.

Subsection 122(3)

Temporary stairs must be at least 600 mm wide to permit the safe movement of equipment and workers.

Readers intersted in design specifications for fixed industrial stairs should consult the following source (there are many others that could also prove useful).

California Code of Regulations
Title 8, Section 3234, Industrial Fixed Ladders.

Section 3234 contains specifications for the safe design and construction of fixed general industrial stairs. This includes interior and exterior stairs around machinery, tanks, and other equipment, and stairs leading to or from floors, platforms, or pits.