Safety Railing and Guardrail Requirements

PitRail - EDGE Fall Protection

A safety handrail helps to provide stability for a handhold whether on a walkway, steps, or platform.  Guardrails are a system of railings to prevent workers from falling off a landing, platform, or walkway.  Including guardrails and safety rail systems is an important consideration in fall prevention systems.  Further, complying with OSHA’s safety railing and guardrail requirements can reduce falls and citations.

First of all, here are some applicable requirements for guardrails and safety railings included in OSHA’s Walking Working Surfaces standard for general industry,  29 CFR 1910.29:

OSHA 1910.29(b)(1):
To meet OSHA’s railing height requirements, the top rail needs to be 42 inches plus or minus 3 inches above the walking-working surface.

OSHA 1910.29(b)(2)(i-iv):
If the vertical opening in the rail is more than 19 inches, then there must be a midrail.  Install the midrail halfway between the top rail and the walking surface.  The distance between intermediate vertical members (such as balusters) is no more than 19 inches.  Openings are no more than 19 inches wide for other intermediate members (such as additional midrails and architectural panels).

OSHA 1910.29(b)(3),(5):
Deals with the strength of the railing.  Guardrails are to withstand a force of at least 200 pounds applied in a downward or outward direction within 2 inches of the top edge at any point along the top rail.  Midrails and intermediate members are to withstand a force of at least 150 pounds applied in any downward or outward direction.

OSHA 1910.29(f)(1)(i):
Handrails must be between 30 and 38 inches from the leading edge of the stair to the top of the rail.

OSHA 1910.29(f)(1)(ii)(A-B):
Stair rails installed before January 17, 2017 are to be at least 30 inches from the leading edge of the stair tread to the top surface of the top rail.  Stair rails installed on or after January 17, 2017 are to be at least 42 inches.

OSHA 1910.29(f)(1)(iii)(A):
A stair rail may serve as a handrail only when the top surface of the top rail is between 36 and 38 inches from the leading edge of the stair.

Also, OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.28 includes information that employers need to ensure that fall protection is provided when employees are exposed to a fall of 4 feet or more to a lower level.

Whether you are looking for a guardrail, safety railing, handrail, stair rail, or a customized safety system, every product we manufacture meets or exceeds OSHA requirements.  For more information about our products, reach out to the EDGE Fall Protection team.