The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides comprehensive industrial safety standards for practically any aspect of a job site, catwalks and elevated platforms included. Slips, trips and falls rank among the most common industrial injuries across every type of work site. Properly built catwalks are designed to prevent many of these injuries.
The Walking Surface
Every elevated walking or working surface has to be constructed with a nonskid surface material or grating. Toe boards are required to prevent tools and materials from falling to any work areas below.
A catwalk may be anchored to the ground or a wall as well as suspended from a ceiling and still be within OSHA compliance. Catwalks must include handrails capable of supporting 200 lbs. of force. Means of egress must be permanent and stationary structures, such as an affixed ladder or stairway.
Any person performing elevated work must have fall protection consisting of a fall restraint and fall arrest system. Fall restraint protection is a tether that prevents a worker from walking off the edge of a platform. A fall arrest system is designed to break a fall and absorb its energy before a worker lands on the surface below.