Safety remains a major concern when you want to climb vertically within a constrained space. The maritime industry had used superior quality ships ladder stairs since the turn of the century and the practice goes on to date. Indeed, accessing narrow niches or loading heavy items on the loft can be problematic when you have to engage both hands while trying to juggle the items properly. It is a balancing act that may not be perfect. Falling from a height inside a ship and sustaining injuries can be extremely troublesome when the ship’s doctor has to work with limited supplies.

It is advisable to opt for stairs that are fixed permanently to the ship and can be pulled up and stored as needed. This not only clears the way for the workers within the ship but keeps away the clutter that may be dangerous for the crew members during storms or inclement weather conditions.

It is of paramount importance to go through OSHA specifications before attempting to order a ship’s ladder. The safety regulations can be accessed by going through OSHA Section 1910.21(b). You may also check the regulations of IBC to ensure perfect safety for the crew members and passengers of the watercraft.

It is interesting to note that OSHA refers to the ladder as Ships stairs while IBC uses ladder and stairs interchangeably.  As per OSHA’s definition, a ship ladder/stair must be equipped with risers, treads, and stair rails. The inclination with the horizontal surface must be between 50 to 70 degrees.

Ship Stairs Design Recommended By OSHA

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A layperson would simply define it as an extremely steep stair. Apart from the inclination, OSHA also recommends the following criteria to ensure the safety of the user and onlookers:

  • The risers must be open with the vertical rise between the surfaces of the treads measuring 6.5 to 12 inches.
  • The depth of the treads must be 4 inches
  • The minimum tread width must measure 18 inches
  • Handrails have been made mandatory for all ship stairs by OSHA

The difference in angle of inclination for ramps, ordinary ladders, and ships stars have been categorized in the safety documents too

The stairs that are guarded by handrails on both sides have no reason to use any kind of fall arrest system as the mounted handrails are enough to prevent falls and damage to heavy equipment

How To Use the Ships Stairs Safely?

OSHA has also certain standards in place for the user of the ship stairs.

The employer must provide a ships ladder when it is impossible to install or mount standard stairs inside the cramped space

The user must descend backwards exactly in the same way as a vertical ladder

OSHA advises the user against carrying tools or other items while descending or ascending the stairs to avoid losing balance.

It is advisable to contact an experienced manufacturer before ordering ships ladder stairs with customized parts as per the requirement. The top companies dealing with specialized stairs are sure to use quality material and take care of the installation.  

Importance of Complying with OSHA Safety Standards for Ships Ladder Stairs

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