What is the Difference between OSHA and IBC Compliant Stairs?

The two types of stairs are differentiated by a range of factors all related to their construction and measurement. The below table simply depicts these factors:



Risers & Tread 8″ open riser
a 9.5″ tread
7″ closed riser, max 4″ open gap. 11″ tread
Stair Width A minimum 22″ wide stair A minimum 44″ wide in most cases
(36″ wide areas served by less than 50 people)
Railings & Guardrail OSHA requires railings on open sides of stairwells and a handrail on at least on the side, preferably the right-side descending at 42″ high. IBC Stairs require guardrails of 42″ high and handrails of 34″ high on both sides of the stairwell.
(vertical members in handrails)
Space between balusters should be no more than 19″ (48 cm) apart Space between balusters should be no more than 4″ apart
Landings Both OSHA and IBC require landings at the top and bottom of the stairs, although IBC landings are larger, typically 4′ square. IBC also requires an intermediate landing on stairwells for stairwells over 12′ high, as well as handrail extensions at the bottom landing.

*This chart is for general reference. Regulations do change.

Regulation Reference:
Risers & Tread – OSHA stair tread requirements 90 | IBC stair width 50 | OSHA stair maximum riser height 70 | OSHA stair riser height 70
Stair Width – OSHA stair tread requirements 90
Railings and Guardrails – OSHA handrail requirements 390 | IBC handrail 320
Balusters – OSHA 1910.29(b)(2)(iii)


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