For anyone working in an industrial or warehouse environment, where cost, space, efficient material handling and worker safety are vital, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-based stairs are often preferred over IBC stairs due to their smaller footprint, better fit, and lower cost. RMI-compliant OSHA-based stairs permit open risers, integration of the handrail as the top of the guard, and a greater stair pitch. The controversy starts, however, when more costly International Building Code (IBC) stairs with their larger footprint, closed risers, and independent handrails with extensions are required for these warehouse environments by the authority having jurisdiction (e.g. the local municipal building departments). While municipal building code planning departments may not realize it, the Rack Manufacturers Institute (RMI)- compliant, OSHA-based stairs have been included in IBC code since 2009 (Section 2208), offering safe, cost-effective, space-efficient access to the elevated work surfaces in pick modules and rack-supported platforms. IBC stairs are totally appropriate for facilities allowing public access in order to protect a wide range of people from the physically-capable to the physically challenged. However, they’re more burdensome than RMI-compliant stairs in a warehouse or industrial setting restricted to trained employees needing to cost-effectively maximize storage space, aisle access, and material handling efficiency. Clearing Up the Controversy Pick modules combine dynamic rack systems with conveyors or other flow components to cost-effectively enhance productivity for broken pallet or carton order-filling operations. When designed as a multi-level rack-supported system, they allow dense product storage, reduced material handling, and the ability to fulfill multiple SKU customer shipments in a timely, accurate manner. Similarly, elevated rack-supported platforms can create additional space for in-plant offices, archive/ record storage, small parts storage, or pick and sort operations above a work or storage area. Even though we hear the argument of OSHA vs. IBC stairs, […]
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