This program area contains information and guidance for the safety of all BNL staff, contractors, visitors, and guest on-site and off-site for the proper design and use of ladders and stairs with associated inspection requirements.
Ladder and stair requirements at BNL fall into the following SBMS Subject Area: Ladders and Stairs, Design, Inspection and Use.
Ladders can be fixed (vertical), or portable. Portable are classified as strait (extension) ladders or self-supporting (such as A-Frame) ladders. Ladders must be designed, built, maintained and used in accordance with the OSHA General Industry standard (29CFR1910) and applicable ANSI standards.
OSHA (29CFR1910.25) rates portable ladders for different duty (see table below).
|Ladder Type||Duty Rating||Description|
|Type 1AA||375 lb.||Extra-heavy-duty industrial ladder|
|Type 1A||300 lb.||Heavy-duty industrial ladder|
|Type 1||250 lb.||Heavy-duty industrial ladder|
|Type 2||225 lb.||Medium-duty commercial ladder|
|Type 3||200 lb.||Light-duty household ladder (should not be used at laboratory)|
All ladders used at Brookhaven National Laboratory must meet OSHA requirements and/or industry standards. The OSHA Guide for ladders is provided below. A number of fixed ladders (typically vertical mounted) were installed prior to OSHA requirements being imposed on this facility. To determine the compliance status of fixed ladders, an Extent of Condition (EOC) was initiated by the Assistant Lab Director for Environment, Safety & Health and is provided below. In order to ensure worker safety, ladders need to be inspected before use and the Laboratory has a program to inspect fix ladders for compliance. These inspections are performed by trained staff (TQ-LADDER-INSPECT). Copies of the compliance and inspection training and approved checklist are provided below.
The Office of the Laboratory’s Chief Engineer maintains the inspection results for fixed ladders (Fix Ladder Inspection Program Result). The results were used to determine additional controls needed to use ladders that non-conformances to laboratory requirements. These controls are used by climbers to allow safe use of these ladders. Examples of how users are made aware of the additional controls are: Ladder Briefing Sheets (managed by F&O) and Ladder Information Cards (managed by the Department/Division).
Requirements for the safe use of fixed vertical ladders at the laboratory (which is part of the on-line training) are described in a video that is posted on the Safety and Health Services Website and can be found here.
Stairs need to be designed and installed to meet the most stringent requirements from the Occupational Safety & Health Administrations (OSHA) General Industry standard (29CFR1910), New York State Unified Code (Building and Fire Safety), and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 101). Stairs are classified based on occupancy requirements as egress or industrial. Fire Protection Engineering is required to assign classification.
Egress Stairs must meet the requirements of New York State Building Code (Chapter 10) and NFPA 101, Life Safety Code (Chapter 7). Examples of egress stair design requirements are provided below.
Industrial Stairs are designed to meet the requirements of OSHA (specifically sections 1910.23 & 1910.24) and NFPA 101, Life Safety Code (Chapter 40). Examples of industrial stair design requirements are provided below.
In some limited space applications, alternate stair designs can be considered. These stairs typically fall under two (2) categories, Ship’s Stairs or Alternating Tread Devices. OSHA, through the Standard Interpretation process, allows these devices under the OSHA Proposed rules (05/20/2003) that addresses recommended changes in Walking and Working Surfaces; Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems). The proposed rule can be found here.
Ship's stairs (sometimes referred to as ship’s ladders) and Alternate Tread Devices are stairways equipped with treads and stair rails with a slope greater than 50° to 70° from the horizontal. Alternating tread devices are typically vendor designed, pre-engineered systems (Off the self) and need to be evaluated independently prior to purchase.
Examples of the ships stair design requirements are provided below.
The National Fire Academy has provided a short training summary for egress handrail requirements. See Means of Egress: Handrail for additional information.