OSHA Clearance Requirements

The OSHA requires employers to provide adequate head space above stairs.
••• stairs image by Gina Smith from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is a part of the U.S. Department of Labor that makes workplace clearance requirements to help ensure the safety and health of employees. It designs clearance requirements that make sure employees have enough space around workplace equipment and in work and walking spaces.

Ladder clearance

OSHA clearance requirements regulate the amount of empty space that must be left around ladders in workplaces. Ladders without cages or in wells should have at least 15 inches clear in each direction from the center of the ladder. The climbing side of the ladder should have at least 36 inches from the center of the rungs for a slope of 76 degrees and at least 30 inches from the center of the rungs for a ladder at a slope of 90 degrees from the horizontal.

Fixed stairway clearance

The OSHA requires at least seven feet above all points of fixed stairways in workplaces.

Aisle Equipment Clearance

To help ensure the safety of workers who move industrial equipment through aisles, the OSHA requires that aisles be at least three feet wider than the largest equipment that passes through the aisles.

Read More: OSHA Aisle Requirements

Head Clearance

The OSHA Small Business Handbook, which the OSHA publishes to help employers comply with OSHA requirements, tells employers to provide adequate headroom for employees above walkways and aisles in the workplace.

Walking Clearance

The OSHA Small Business Handbook also reminds employers that they must leave safe clearance around walkways near motorized equipment or mechanical handling equipment.


OSHA clearance requirements say that employees must have at least 6 feet, 3 inches headroom above work spaces above switchboards, panel boards, motor control centers and service equipment.

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