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OSHA Rule Looks to Clarify Handrail, Stair Rail Requirements

Proposed rule focuses solely on clarifying requirements for rule finalized in 2016

Grain silo elevator ladder VIA PIXABAY May 2021

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing updates in the handrail and stair rail system requirements for its general industry, Walking-Working Surfaces standard.

OSHA published a final rule on walking-working surfaces and personal protective equipment in November 2016 that updated requirements for slip, trip and fall hazards. The agency has received numerous questions asking when handrails are required, and about the height requirements for handrails on stairs and stair rail systems.

This proposed rule does not reopen for discussion any of the regulatory decisions made in the 2016 rulemaking. It focuses solely on clarifying some of the requirements for handrails and stair rail systems finalized in 2016, and on providing flexibility in the transition to OSHA’s newer requirements.

Follow the online instructions at the Federal eRulemaking portal to submit comments. Submit comments by July 19. For more information, read the Federal Register notice.

Learn more about OSHA’s General Industry Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection standards.

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