OSHA is proposing updates to clarify its handrail (1910.28) and stair rail system (1910.29) for the general industry Walking-Working Surfaces standard after receiving numerous questions regarding the standard’s requirements.
A final rule on walking-working surfaces was published in 2016 – the proposed rule doesn’t reopen any discussion on decisions regarding that rulemaking – and OSHA wants to clarify some sections, including those covering when handrails are required and the height requirements for handrails on stairs.
The standard was published Nov. 18, 2016, and since that time, OSHA states it has received “many questions and requests for interpretation of the requirements for handrails and stair rail systems,” according to the proposed rule’s Federal Register entry.
These questions and requests led the agency to believe “there is confusion in the stakeholder community regarding when handrails are required on stairs as well as what the height requirements are for handrails on stairs and for stair rail systems, depending on date of installation.”
With this rule, OSHA is proposing language it feels is clearer without changing the intent of the 2016 final rule, and is asking stakeholders to comment, which can be done here.