OSHA Regulations for Walkways

By Lisa Chinn
OSHA regulations for walkways keep passageways safe for workers.

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Anybody who has worked on scaffolding or other areas with walkways understands the importance of safety when walking in these areas because of the potential of injury due to slipping and falling. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations for walkways protect workers by ensuring they can get through necessary passages and have safe places to navigate the workplace on foot.

Exit Routes

OSHA regulations hold employers responsible for making sure employees have exit routes that lead outside, to a walkway with access to the outside or to a refuge area.

Scaffold Walkway Guard Rails

Walkways along scaffolds should have guardrail systems along at least one side of the walkway. OSHA regulations for walkways also require scaffold walkway guardrails to sit within 9.5 inches of the side of the walkway. Scaffolding walkways do not need full floor planks, but the OSHA does hold employers responsible for making sure that scaffolding walkways are safe for workers to walk on.

Narrow Scaffold Walkways

Walkways on scaffolding in areas narrower than 18 inches should be as wide as possible, according to OSHA regulations. OSHA also requires the use of guardrails to protect workers from falling off of narrow walkways, or the use of personal arrest systems to protect workers if they do fall.

Walkway Slope

OSHA forbids walkways from having slopes steeper than 20 degrees, or one vertical unit per three horizontal units.

Slip Protection

Walkways with a slope of at least one vertical unit per eight horizontal units must have cleats to protect workers from slipping. The cleats should not sit more than 14 inches apart from each other and should be securely fastened to the walkway surface.

Conveyor Guards

Walkways that pass over moving conveyors should have guardrails or other adequate protection mechanisms to prevent workers from falling onto conveyors, according to OSHA standards.

About the Author

Lisa Chinn developed her research skills while working at a research university library. She writes for numerous publications, specializing in gardening, home care, wellness, copywriting, style and travel. Chinn also designs marketing materials, holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and is working toward a PhD in cognitive neuroscience.

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