January 18, 2022 Last updated January 18th, 2022 679 Reads share

8 Steps To Designing An OSHA-Compliant Industrial Workplace

Image Credit:

A workplace is only as strong as the industrial equipment it houses. All too often, industrial accidents result from improper installation or faulty equipment design.  

The standards provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the United States protect workers and facilities by restricting unqualified practices. Enforcing these standards is up to industrial facility managers. They’re the first to understand industrial workplace compliance and maintain a safe industrial facility. 


Here are the eight most important OSHA industrial workplace standards concerning industrial workplace safety in general. 

1) Keep Industrial Jobsite Safety In Mind 

In industrial job sites, prioritizing industrial facility safety for industrial workers is as crucial as designing industrial equipment that functions properly. One should understand the commonly practiced tasks at an industrial site. It will help industrial facility managers include industrial workplace compliance requirements in the design process.  

For example, installing industrial stairs on high-rise buildings should be prioritized over industrial shelving. Also, industrial shelves should include industrial railing on industrial platforms greater than 4 feet high. Meanwhile, industrial stairs must have industrial railings for industrial platforms higher than 6 feet.

2) Design For Worker Convenience 

In many industrial workplaces, workers need to carry equipment from floor to floor. Thus, industrial facility managers should design industrial facilities with features that allow workers to access industrial equipment easily. This way, there will be accessible transportation for tools and materials.  

For example, industrial platform design should include proper industrial stairway size and industrial cabinetry for workers’ easy equipment storage. A lack of an industrial staircase or inadequate industrial railings may result in injuries and damage to industrial materials. 

3) Employ Safety Standards When Installing Industrial Equipment

Industrial facility managers should understand industrial equipment design to install industrial equipment properly. It includes installing industrial railings, stairs, and other industrial elements explicitly designed for OSHA compliance requirements.  

For instance, installing industrial stairways allow for proper industrial railing installation. Also, industrial stairs must have a minimum industrial platform height of 30 inches and be placed 36 inches away from the railing. It’s suggested that these stairs have steel brackets that are 1.5 times the industrial stairway weight capacity. It could help them provide industrial strength and stability.

4) Industrial Platforms Should Provide Proper Footing

Industrial facility managers should design steel ladders or steel stairs to include steel platforms for each steel stair tread on industrial stairs. A steel platform is considered an adequate footing for people climbing up steel ladders, but not necessarily down. 

For example, a steel platform must be large enough to accommodate the entire step ladder, and a steel platform must be placed no more than 12 inches away from the steel railing. Industrial facility managers should consult steel stairway manufacturers to determine steel platform size and distance from steel railings. 

A steel ladder or steel stairs must also be designed with a rung length of 10 and 13/64 inches, and the distance between each step is 7 and 15/16 inches. If steel railings are not installed on industrial stairs, industrial facility managers should install steel handrails for workers to hold onto while climbing the steel steps of industrial steel stairs. 

Industrial platform design also includes steel stair treads that must have a slip-resistant surface and accommodate steel cleats or anti-slip steel pads.

5) Industrial Workstations Should Properly Accommodate Ergonomics

Workstation height is determined by standing at the steel station and measuring from steel platform height to working steel station level, which should be approximately mid-thigh for steel desks. In addition, steel workstations should not have steel casters because steel rolling office chairs can damage steel floors and workstations. 

Industrial facility managers must also consider steel seating when designing steel workspaces in industrial facilities. Steel chairs with steel casters can damage steel floors, so steel chairs must have rubber or nylon rollers instead of steel casters. Also, steel chair arms should be adjustable for better ergonomics. 

Steel benches in waiting areas should also replace steel casters with steel glides, pads, or footrests. Bench arms must also be removable to accommodate steel carts or other steel equipment storage.

6) Provide Steel Scaffolding For Climbing Industrial Stairs 

Scaffolding should include steel ladders with steel platforms for stair treads and railings to provide workers a safe place to rest while climbing stairs. Proper scaffold design must consist of steel railing length, steel platform dimensions, and the distance from the platform to the steel railing. 

Scaffold handrails should be at least 36 inches long and extend 4 inches past steel platform height. Industrial facility managers should consult steel railing suppliers to select the steel railings that best suit steel scaffolding or steel stairs and consider steel stairway post height as well as steel handrails to meet safety requirements. 

If employees work with steel sheeting or other lightweight steel items while climbing steel stairs or using steel scaffolding, steel casters should be replaced with steel glides.

7) Keep Your Workplace Well Lit

Industrial facility managers should consult steel stairway manufacturers to determine lighting requirements for steel stairs and ladders. Lighting requirements may vary depending on the type of industrial facility. 

The National Electric Code (NEC) requires steel platforms to be outlined with a minimum 1/8-inch continuous unbroken rail or barrier providing a 36-inch height above steel platform floor. The NEC also requires quick release couplings, which fasten walking surfaces to stiles and posts, secured with over-the-post, clevis pins. 

If industrial facility managers use stairs to access steel platforms, they must consult the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A1264 standard. ANSI requires that steel platform handrails are no more than 30 inches long and at least one steel platform stairway within the steelwork area for every 30 linear feet of steel platform.

8) Provide Protective Equipment

Lastly, industrial facility managers should provide steel-toed footwear, protective jackets, and steel-hard hats for employees working in industrial facilities. In addition, eye protectors such as safety goggles or glasses with steel side shields are required when there is a danger of flying objects striking the eyes, and dust masks should be worn while using saws or grinders. 

If welding is being performed in the steel facility, employees must wear full protective clothing that includes a helmet or hood designed to deflect sparks and slag. 

Industrial facility managers should also consult safety equipment suppliers for the correct sizing of protective equipment. It’ll ensure optimal worker safety and compliance with OSHA standards. 


Final Note 

The ultimate goal of designing a facility is to create an industrial workplace that’s safe for employees and compliant with OSHA safety standards. It’ll contribute to the long-term success of your business by preventing injuries, illnesses, or fatalities that could result in financial loss or legal problems. 

Finally, consult a professional when designing your steel facility. A professional will have experience in industrial facility design and safety regulations. They’ll be able to offer professional advice while working within your budget. 

Gabriel Simmons

Gabriel Simmons

Read Full Bio