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What is the cost of installing crossover stairs or ladders? (Part 1)

Chris Banks September 29, 2016
erectastep crossover at gas facility

Facility managers looking to make their workplace safe from falls, operationally efficient and compliant with OSHA regulations might try to fabricate their own industrial stairs, safety platform or crossover solutions in house or call a metal or carpentry shop to create a custom-solution for their facility or plant. OSHA lists slips, trips and falls as the cause of 15% of accidental deaths, second only to motor vehicle accidents.

The Thinking BIG Blog will tackle industrial stairs and safety platform costs in two separate posts – this is part one. Part two will show actual costs for a typical installation. For a wonderful explanation of what the term "industrial stairs" means by OSHA's definition, click here.

Today we will share the most important questions to ask when trying to determine the cost of creating industrial stairs, platforms or a safety crossover solution for your workplace:


Tall ErectaStep crossover
Stairs can be configured to provide up to 102-inches of vertical clearance.

1. What elevation does your industrial stairs or crossover need to reach?

The required height of the crossover directly ties to the purpose of the crossover.

  • For obstructions, what is the level of clearance required?
  • If your employees need to reach a particular height, what is that height and how far is that requirement above the surface?

ErectaStep’s slip resistant safety stairs come with a nine-inch rise/run, ranging from one step to fifteen steps. This allows for up to 135 inches of clearance or 129 inches from the ground to the surface. We can create stair combinations to reach up to 20 steps using an intermediate platform with more clearance over obstructions.


Wide stretch ErectaStep accessc platform
Modular design allows for wide applications.

2. How far does the platform need to span?

To determine the number of modular platforms and associated supports, calculate the area for the entire platform to span. Each ErectaStep modular platform measures 36 inches by 36 inches, and the platform can span up to nine feet without additional supports. You can add reinforcements using tower supports for solutions spanning larger areas and greater structural integrity.


3. Will you need steps or a ladder?

ErectaStep platform with ladder
Choose ladders, stairs, or both for access

The needs of every workspace are unique; ErectaStep ladders and stairs modular design naturally fits different needs. In areas with tight spaces, a ladder is a better option. Employees needing to carry heavy equipment probably require stairs as a more stable solution.


4. Does the entire system (or a smaller part) require handrails?

Each required handrail will contribute to the total cost. Federal regulations require handrails on any open area greater than four feet tall. If the solution grants access to an area or piece of equipment, handrails will only be needed on one side.


5. Will the solution be stationary or mobile?

RollaStep meets mobility requirements using similar components as ErectaStep. RollaStep meets OSHA codes and can be moved and adjusted to keep your employees safe.


6. Does the system need a safety gate?

YellowGate safety gate
YellowGate safety gates OSHA compliant provide fall protection.

When working at higher heights, you should strongly consider extra precautions to ensure the safety of employees. YellowGate stops falls using an adjustable and mobile system to meet any gated, barrier or railing areas requirements. The universal mounting system allows installation in any location without additional parts. This same system adjusts to openings between 16" to 36".



7. Will standard components work or does it need to be customized?

PerfectaStep customized access platform
Customized PerfecaStep solutions are available in less time than shop made

ErectaStep’s five modular platform component categories typically solve most industrial workplace applications. However, more demanding requirements can call for custom solutions. PerfectaStep allows a more custom solution, offering  precision-cut, modular, and custom width stairs, platforms, handrails and tower supports for platform access in any area.


8. What is the cost of installing a shop made solution?

Custom solutions will involve a time-consuming amount of research to set the right OSHA-compliant specifications and then the design costs to meet those regulations. Design and research of this kind will typically cost about $4000 (depending on the complexity) and will require a lead time of about 2 weeks for design and 4 weeks for fabrication, plus the cost of your time in assisting in the development of custom fabrication requirements. Depending on the size of the crossover, platform or ladder, a custom-fabricated design might require cranes and/or on site welding and the associated hot-work permits.


9. What is the cost of failure to meet applicable OSHA safety codes?

Intuitively, most would focus on time and material for any custom-made solution. Most would also fail to consider the following cost aspects:

  • the risk of violating an overlooked OSHA code
  • the numerous direct and indirect costs associated with an injured employee

OSHA proscribes 10 different standards for walking and working surfaces in "general industry", with 62 specifications alone aimed at guarding floor and wall openings and holes. Furthermore, they proscribe additional specifications for metal ladders (portable or fixed), scaffolding, fixed industrial stairs… the list goes on… and on. And oh by the way, additional regulations take aim at shipyard, marine, longshoring and the construction industries. Consequently, getting the compliance aspects of industrial stairs and platforms correct takes a lot of diligent research and then applying that research to the resulting design.

Fortunately, an easier way beckons. ErectaStep offers modular solutions that can be assembled into your own “custom” solution to solve your safety needs, all without worrying about compliance with voluminous federal safety regulations.

Hungry to find out if ErectaStep will suit your individual needs? Schedule a lunch and learn - we will provide the sustenance and the learning. Email or call 856-687-2227 for help from our consultants to find you an immediate solution.

Read Part 2 here.