U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Standards (OSHA) are federal guidelines formulated by the Department of Labor. OSHA focuses its regulations on managing the ways in which safety can be maintained at the workplace. OSHA oversees the implementation of safety standards and penalizes non-compliant organizations. Ramps are one of the areas OSHA regulates.
Ramps are covered under OSHA guidelines 1926.451 and the general requirements mandated under sub section (e) (5). Ramps that measure more than 6 feet above lower levels (areas below the level at which a worker is working and could fall) should be equipped with guardrail systems. Ramps should have an inclination of not more than 1 vertical foot to 3 horizontal feet, and should be no more than 20 degrees above the horizon. When a ramp has a slope that is steeper than 1 vertical foot to 8 horizontal feet, it should be equipped with cleats that are at least 1 foot 2 inches apart from each other. These cleats have to be tightly secured to the planks so that people have no problem placing their feet on the cleats.
In Buildings Under Construction
OSHA stipulates that for buildings under construction, ramps must be well lit while the construction is underway. A well-lit ramp will allow workers to see where they are walking and can help prevent accidents or workplace deaths in a construction area where workers must often use ramps to access higher areas of construction.
Ramps During Excavation
Excavation, or digging up a certain site, is done in many types of construction projects (such as digging a basement for a home). Workers may need to excavate to a number of different depths as part of construction. This can result in loose soil, posing risks for workers. As a result, OSHA regulations mandate that in such sites, whenever earth is dug up at depths of 4 feet or more, the builder must provide ramps. Ramps should be constructed and placed at the construction site till the completion of the work. Ramps must be built by qualified workers or contractors, should be made of material that prevents skidding, and should extend from the surface (road or level ground) to the bottom of the excavation spot. These requirements ensure easy access for those workers working inside excavation sites to exit easily when the need arises.