Access Staircases Explained
Access staircases are typically used in order to gain access to areas that cannot be safely reached by other means. They are generally used in industry to provide access for workers to carry out repairs or maintenance or in order to undertake tasks that are part of a manufacturing process. In most cases, access staircases will need to be individually fabricated in order to access a specific location within a factory or on a construction site.
Access stairs will need to be fabricated from materials strong enough to bear a load which includes the users and any tools, supplies or equipment that is needed for the specific task being undertaken. This means that they will be manufactured from steel or aluminium. The steps and any platforms that comprise the unit will need to have a slip proof coating in order to reduce the risk of falling from height, one of the most common causes of injury in the workplace in today’s Britain. The unit should also be fitted with all the necessary hand and toe rails that will serve to further ensure the safety of employees using it.
When using an access staircase it’s important that employees wear the correct footwear that will offer protection within their industry. Non-slip soles are vital for preventing slips and falls and steel toe caps will help to prevent crushing injuries.
Access staircases will need regular safety checks to ensure that they are not damaged or have not deteriorated in any way so that they still provide a safe method for accessing the areas they were designed to reach. The unit will also need to be checked regularly to ensure that all surfaces are clean and grease free to minimise any risk of fall.
Very often a bespoke access staircase will provide a safer and more useful access solution than ladders, even a fixed access ladder. They are easier to use and more convenient when loads of tools, supplies or equipment need to be taken to the area being worked on. If you are a business or factory owner and your premises has areas that are proving a challenge to reach, then a bespoke access staircase may be the only solution that is viable. This will allow you to comply with your duty of care responsibilities towards your staff and offer them good working conditions where their safety is considered at all times.
If an access staircase is located out of doors, then there will be extra health and safety checks that will need to be undertaken before use. The steps and surfaces will need to be checked for ice or damp – wet surface are often slippery. Handrails will also need to be checked to ensure they are not wet or greasy. An outdoor access staircase should not be used during severe weather, especially in high winds. Although the drop may not be far, any fall from height poses a risk to employees and there are many cases of workers being permanently injured when falling from just a few feet.
An access staircase is often used to provide access to a flat roof in order to carry out regular maintenance work on plant installed on the roof of industrial and commercial buildings. While providing this safe access is the responsibility of the duty holder, it’s vital to remember that flat roofs are often fragile and safe access to the work area should be provided by installing a roofwalker system which will spread the weight of the user without damaging the surface of the roof.