1926 Subpart X
SAFETY AND HEALTH 1926
Overview for Subpart X
Stairways and Ladders
X-1 What are the most frequently cited serious stairway and ladder violations?
Not providing a handrail or stair rail system on stairs of four or
more steps [1926.1052(c)(1)].
Not securing a portable ladder or having it extended 3 feet (.9 m)
above the upper landing before workers use it to reach an upper level
Not providing a safe means to gain access to a vertical rise in elevation
of 19 inches (48 cm) or more [1926.1051(a)].
Not providing a training program for workers on the proper construction,
inspection, maintenance, care, use, and limitations of stairways and
Not marking or tagging a defective ladder so that it would not be
used before it has been repaired [1926.1053(b)(16)].
X-2 What are some effective control measures that can be used to protect
workers from the hazards presented in X-1 above?
All stairways of 4 steps or more need to have a handrail (see illustration
X-1). In addition, if there is a fall hazard of 6 feet (1.8 m) or more
on an exposed side of the stairs then a stair rail system must be provided
to prevent workers from falling off the side (see illustration X-2).
Also, stairway landings 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above the surrounding
area need to be provided with a guardrail system along the exposed perimeters
of the landing.
When using a portable ladder, the top end must extend above the upper
landing level by 3 feet (.9 m) or otherwise be tied off at the top to
some secure point so that the ladder will not lose its position while
a worker is using it. Portable ladders with structural defects are not
to be used and are to be tagged or marked to indicate they are not to
be used. Employees need to know what to look for to assure the ladder
is safe to use before they put it in use.
Training for workers who use ladders and stairways is to help them
avoid overloading; to know the fall protection features that need to
be present when using ladders, and the correct procedures for erecting
and disassembling stairways or ladders.