Stair and Walk Surface Glossary of Terms

Definitions of terms used in OSHA Standards – 29 CFR 1910 Subpart D

Floor hole

The floor hole: an opening that’s perfect for materials but not for people to fall through. Whether you’re looking for a belt hole, pipe opening, or slot opening, the floor hole is just what you need. It’s less than 12 inches but more than 1 inch in its least dimension, making it great for all sorts of applications.

Floor opening

Floor opening is considered an opening measuring 12 inches or more in its least dimension in any floor, platform, pavement, or yard through which persons may fall; such as a hatchway, stair or ladder opening, pit, or large manhole. Floor openings occupied by elevators, dumb waiters, conveyors, machinery, or containers are excluded from this subpart.

Handrail

A handrail is a single bar or pipe supported on brackets from a wall or partition, as on a stairway or ramp, to furnish persons with a handhold in case of tripping.

Platform

Platforms are ideal for both industrial and commercial applications. A platform can provide a safe and sturdy area for workers to operate machinery in an industrial setting. In a commercial setting, platforms can be used as display areas, stage areas, or even as spaces for guests to stand and mingle.

Runway

Our selection of quality runway systems are ideal for any indoor or outdoor setting, and are perfect for both commercial and residential applications. Our runways are made from durable materials that can withstand heavy foot traffic and are available in a variety of sizes and styles to suit your specific needs. Whether you’re looking for a sleek and modern walkway to connect two buildings, or a sturdy and stylish solution for awkward footing situations, we’ve got you covered.

Standard railing

Standard railings are a necessary safety measure to prevent falls at exposed edges of floor openings, walls, ramps, platforms, and runways. They are an important part of any safety plan and should be installed where needed to protect workers, guests, and others. In addition to their safety function, standard railings can also enhance the look of a space and add to its overall design. Whether you need them for safety or aesthetic purposes, standard railings are a smart investment for any business or home.

Standard strength and construction

When it comes to safety and durability, you can’t go wrong with standard strength and construction. This construction method meets the requirements of the OSHA 1910.23 safety standards, so you can rest assured that your railings, covers, or other guards are up to code. Not only that, but this construction is incredibly strong and built to last, ensuring years of safe usage. Whether you’re looking for peace of mind or a long-lasting investment, standard strength and construction are the way to go.

Stair railing

A stair railing is a vertical barrier erected along the exposed sides of a stairway to prevent falls. It is an important safety feature in any home or business, and our stair railings are designed to provide maximum protection against accidental falls. When OSHA inspectors come around, stair railing height is an important consideration. No handrail should ever be too tall or short; it must be just right to ensure the safety of workers and anyone else moving around the area. To comply with handrail height regulations, look no further than OSHA’s guidelines when installing a handrail for your facility – with railings installed to the required height, people can walk up and down stairs without worry.  Our railings are made from high-quality materials and are available in a variety of styles to suit your specific needs. We also offer custom-made railings to ensure a perfect fit for your staircase.

Toeboard

Toeboards are an essential safety measure for any business or property that has exposed edges at the floor level of a floor opening, wall opening, platform, runway or ramp. By erecting a toeboard around these edges, you can help prevent falls of materials and protect people from injury. At the same time, toeboards also provide a visual barrier that can help increase safety awareness in your workplace or home.

Wall hole

Wall holes provide an efficient way to ventilate a room or to allow drainage in the event of a leak. They are commonly found in homes and commercial buildings and are an essential part of any plumbing system. Wall holes come in a variety of sizes and can be customized to fit your specific needs.

Wall opening

When it comes to wall openings, safety is paramount. That’s why our wall openings are designed to be at least 30 inches high and 18 inches wide to help prevent accidental falls. We’ve got you covered whether you’re looking for a simple doorway or a more complex chute opening. Our team of experts can help you find the perfect solution for your needs, so you can rest assured that your space is safe and compliant with all applicable codes and regulations.

Definitions of terms used in OSHA Standards – 1910.24 Subpart D

Handrail

A handrail is a single bar or pipe that is supported on brackets from a wall or partition and provides a continuous handhold for persons using a stair. It is an essential safety feature for any staircase, and our handrails are made from the highest quality materials to ensure durability and longevity.

Nose, nosing

The nose, or nosing, is the portion of a tread that projects beyond the face of the riser immediately below. This important feature helps to ensure traction and prevent slips, making it an essential part of any staircase.

Open riser

An open riser staircase is defined as a stairway without upright members (risers) between the treads. It’s safer than a traditional staircase because there are no small spaces for little feet to get stuck in.

Platform

A platform is an extended step or landing that breaks a continuous run of stairs. It can be used to provide extra stability when climbing or descending stairs.

Railing

When it comes to preventing falls and providing a safe environment, railings are an essential piece of equipment. Our railing is made from durable materials that can withstand high-traffic areas and provides a vertical barrier to help prevent falls. The top member of our railing also serves as a handrail, making it easy and safe to grip.

Rise

Rise is the vertical distance from the top of a tread to the top of the next higher tread and gives you exactly what you need in terms of functionality.

Riser

The riser is the upright member of a step that provides support and stability. It is usually located at the back of a lower tread and near the leading edge of the next higher tread. This product is essential for any staircase, providing both function and safety.

Stairs, stairway

Stairs and stairways are an essential part of many buildings and structures. They provide a means of moving between different levels or floors, and can also be used to access pits, platforms, crossovers, boiler rooms, or around machinery and equipment. A series of stairs and landings with three or more risers are considered a staircase.

Tread

Tread is the horizontal member of a step that makes direct contact with the foot. It is an important safety feature in any staircase, and its primary purpose is to provide a safe and stable surface for walking.

Tread run

The tread run is a horizontal distance from the leading edge of a tread to the leading edge of an adjacent tread.

Tread width

Tread width is an important measurement to take into account. This is the horizontal distance from front to back of the tread, including the nosing. Choosing a flooring option with the right tread width is important for your needs, as this can impact safety.

Definitions of terms used in OSHA Standards – 1910.25 Subpart D

Ladders

Ladders are appliances usually consisting of two side rails joined at regular intervals by crosspieces called steps, rungs, or cleats. Ladders provide a way for people to ascend or descend in a manner that is often safer and more efficient than using their bare hands or feet.

Stepladder

Stepladders are self-supporting and portable, making them perfect for a variety of tasks. With flat steps and a hinged back, they are easy to use and offer a safe and sturdy platform. The non-slip steps and hinged back provide added safety and stability.

Single ladder

The single ladder and its non-self-supporting design and nonadjustable length make it perfect for a variety of tasks around the home or office. Plus, its compact size makes it easy to store away when not in use.

Extension ladder

The Extension Ladder is made from high-quality materials that ensure it can withstand even the most demanding applications. It features two or more sections that can be adjusted to the desired length, making it perfect for any job. Plus, the non-self-supporting design makes it easy to transport and set up.

Sectional ladder

A sectional ladder is a great choice for anyone who needs a portable ladder that can be adjusted to different lengths. This type of ladder is made up of two or more sections, which can be combined to create a single, extended ladder. Sectional ladders are perfect for both indoor and outdoor use.

Trestle ladder

Trestle ladders are self-supporting and non-adjustable in length, consisting of two sections hinged at the top to form equal angles with the base. The size is designated by the length of the side rails measured along the front edge. Trestle Ladders are easy to transport and perfect for a variety of applications.

Extension trestle ladder

The extension trestle ladder is self-supporting and can be adjusted to the desired length, making it perfect for both indoor and outdoor use. The single ladder can be easily locked into place, ensuring a sturdy and safe climbing experience. With a variety of sizes available, you’re sure to find the perfect extension trestle ladder for your needs.

Special-purpose ladder

Special-purpose ladder: This is a portable ladder that represents either a modification or a combination of design or construction features in one of the general-purpose types of ladders previously defined, in order to adapt the ladder to special or specific uses.

Trolley ladder

Our trolley ladder is made of high-quality materials and is built to last. It’s also very easy to use – simply attach it to an overhead track, and you’re good to go! Plus, its compact design means it won’t take up too much space in your home or workplace.

Side-rolling ladder

This side-rolling ladder is perfect for use in tight spaces. The nonadjustable length makes it easy to use, and the attachments to the guide rail keep it stable while you work. With its semifixed design, this ladder is a great choice for anyone looking for an easy-to-use option that doesn’t require any adjustment.

Wood characteristics

Wood is a natural material with many distinguishing features. By their extent and number, wood characteristics determine the quality of a piece of wood.

Wood irregularities

Wood irregularities are natural characteristics in or on wood that may lower its durability, strength or utility. While these features do not affect the structural integrity of the wood, they may cause some cosmetic issues.

Cross grain

Cross grain is a deviation of the fiber direction from a line parallel to the sides of the piece. This occurs when the growth of the tree is not perfectly symmetrical, leading to a slope of grain.

Knot

Knots are classified according to size, quality, and occurrence. The size of the knot is determined as the average diameter on the surface of the piece. Lumber-graded knotty has a higher percentage of knots than lumber graded clear. Knots are caused by imperfections in the growth of the tree and are removed during manufacturing.

Pitch and bark pockets

Pitch and bark pockets are openings that extend parallel to the annual growth rings in a tree. They can contain either solid or liquid pitch, or bark. Having either of these features in your tree can be helpful for identifying it and determining its age.

Shake

A shake is a separation of the wood fibers along the grain. It most often occurs between the growth rings of annual growth.

Check

This check is a lengthwise separation of the wood, most of which occurs across the rings of annual growth. It is an eco-friendly product that is made from sustainable materials.

Wane

Wane is bark, or the lack of wood from any cause, on the corner of a piece, which gives it a rustic and natural look.

Decay

Decay is a process of disintegration of wood substance due to the action of wood-destroying fungi. It is also known as dote and rot.

Compression failure

Compression failure is a deformation of the fibers that occurs when there is excessive compression along the grain.

Compression wood

Compression wood is a highly variable type of wood that can be found in softwood species. It is characterized by high density, high longitudinal shrinkage, and lower stiffness and tensile strength compared to normal wood.

Low density

Low density wood is a type of wood that is exceptionally light in weight and usually deficient in strength properties for the species.

Definitions of terms used in OSHA Standards – 1910.26 Subpart D

Ladder

A ladder is an appliance that helps you reach high places. It usually consists of two side rails joined at regular intervals by cross-pieces called steps, rungs, or cleats. This allows a person to ascend or descend safely and easily.

Step ladder

This step ladder is a self-supporting, portable ladder that is nonadjustable in length. It has flat steps and a hinged back. The size of the step ladder is designated by the overall length of the ladder measured along the front edge of the side rails.

Single ladder

This step ladder is perfect for any job that requires a little extra height. With a sturdy build and flat steps, this ladder is safe and easy to use. Thanks to its hinged back, the ladder folds up easily for storage or transport.

Extension ladder

Our extension ladder is made of high-quality materials and is adjustable in length, so you can tailor it to your needs. It’s also equipped with guide brackets and non-slip feet for maximum safety.

Platform ladder

The platform ladder is perfect for a variety of applications. It can be used as an extension ladder, as a stairway ladder, or as a platform ladder. The platform provides a safe and stable work surface, making it perfect for accessing high areas.

Sectional ladder

This ladder is made up of multiple sections, so it can be shortened or lengthened to fit the needs of the job. It is also non-self-supporting, meaning that it does not stand on its own and must be leaned against a wall or other surface for support.

Trestle ladder

The Trestle Ladder is a self-supporting, portable ladder that is non-adjustable in length. It is made up of two sections that are hinged at the top to form equal angles with the base. This ladder size is designated by the length of the side rails measured along the front edge.

Extension trestle ladder

This extension trestle ladder is perfect for any professional who needs a reliable and adjustable ladder. The trestle base provides stability, while the single ladder can be adjusted to the desired length. The locking mechanism ensures that the ladders stay together, providing a safe and sturdy working platform.

Special-purpose ladder

This special-purpose ladder is perfect for any job that needs a little extra height. With its combination of design and construction features, it can be adapted to fit any need you may have. It`s also portable, so you can take it with you wherever you go.

Definitions used in 1910.27

Ladder

A ladder is an appliance that helps you reach high places. It usually consists of two side rails joined at regular intervals by cross-pieces called steps, rungs, or cleats. This allows a person to ascend or descend safely and easily.

Fixed ladder

Fixed ladders are a great solution for businesses that need a safe, reliable way to access high areas. They are permanently attached to the structure and provide a stable platform for climbing. This makes them ideal for factories, warehouses, and other industrial settings.

Individual-rung ladder

An individual-rung ladder is a great choice for accessing areas that are difficult or dangerous to reach with a traditional extension ladder. Each rung is attached to the structure independently, so the ladder can be adjusted to fit any height or angle. This also makes it easier to move and store than a traditional ladder.

Rail ladder

A rail ladder, also known as a fixed ladder, is a type of ladder that consists of side rails joined at regular intervals by rungs or cleats. This type of ladder is fastened in full length or in sections to a building, structure, or equipment. It provides a safe and easy way to ascend and descend from elevated surfaces.

Railings

Railings provide a barrier between an individual and a hazardous drop off, preventing falls and potential injuries. Our railings are constructed in accordance with OSHA 1910.23 standards to ensure safety and compliance. We offer a variety of railing options, including standard vertical railings, horizontal railings, and custom designs to meet your specific needs.

Pitch

Pitch is the angle between the horizontal and the ladder, measured on the opposite side of the ladder from the climbing side. This measurement is important for ensuring safe ladder use, as it helps you determine how far away from the wall your ladder should be when set up.

Fastenings

Fastenings are an essential part of ladder safety. They provide a secure connection between the ladder and the structure, making it less likely that the ladder will slip or fall.

Rungs

Rungs are an essential safety item for ladder users. They provide a flat, stable surface on which to place your feet, making it easier and safer to climb the ladder. Rungs are available in both circular and oval cross-sections, so you can choose the shape that best suits your needs.

Cleats

Cleats are perfect for safely ascending or descending ladders. They have a rectangular cross-section and are placed on the edge so that you can step in them easily.

Steps

Steps are an essential part of any ladder and provide a stable surface on which to step when ascending or descending.

Cage

Cage is a guard that fastens to the side rails of the fixed ladder or to the structure to encircle the climbing space of the ladder, providing safety for the person who must climb.

Well

A well is a permanent enclosure that surrounds the ladder and provides the same level of protection as a cage.

Ladder safety device

A ladder safety device is a device that helps prevent falls while using a ladder. It may incorporate features such as life belts, friction brakes, and sliding attachments. This allows the user to feel safe and secure while reaching higher areas.

Grab bars

Grab bars provide a safe and sturdy handhold when accessing an area beyond the ladder. They are individual handholds, typically placed adjacent to or as an extension above ladders. This allows for safe access to areas that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Through ladder

A through ladder is a type of ladder that allows a person getting off the top to step through the ladder and reach the landing without having to jump.

Side-step ladder

The side-step ladder is a ladder that has been designed with a side-step feature, which allows the user to step sideways off the ladder in order to reach the landing

Definitions of terms used in OSHA Standards – 1910.28 Subpart D

Bearer

Bearer is a horizontal scaffold member that provides support for the platform and may be supported by ledgers.

Boatswain’s chair

The boatswain’s chair, also known as a bosun’s chair, is a seat supported by slings attached to a suspended rope. It is designed to accommodate one workman in a sitting position and provides him with a safe and comfortable place to work.

Brace

A brace tie is the perfect solution for scaffolders who need to keep their members in a fixed position with respect to each other.

Bricklayers’ square scaffold

The Bricklayers’ square scaffold is perfect for light and medium duty tasks. It is a scaffold composed of framed wood squares which create a stable platform.

Carpenters’ bracket scaffold

This Carpenters’ bracket scaffold are made of sturdy wood or metal brackets. The platform is supported by them, making it a safe and secure option.

Coupler

Coupler is a device used to connect the component parts of a tubular metal scaffold. It is made from a sturdy material, such as drop-forged steel, malleable iron, or structural grade aluminum, to ensure a safe and secure connection. The use of gray cast iron is prohibited.

Crawling board or chicken ladder

The crawling board or chicken ladder is a plank with cleats spaced and secured at equal intervals, designed to provide a safe surface for workers on roofs. It is not designed to carry any material.

Double pole or independent pole scaffold

A double pole scaffold is a type of scaffold supported from the base by a double row of uprights, independent of support from the walls. This scaffold is constructed of uprights, ledgers, horizontal platform bearers, and diagonal bracing.

Float or ship scaffold

The float or ship scaffold is a type of scaffold that is hung from overhead supports by means of ropes. This scaffold consists of a substantial platform that has diagonal bracing underneath, resting upon and securely fastened to two parallel plank bearers at right angles to the span.

Guardrail

Guardrail is a rail system that is secured to uprights and erected along the exposed sides and ends of platforms. This product helps protect employees and customers from potential accidents or injuries.

Heavy duty scaffold

This heavy duty scaffold is designed and constructed to carry a working load not to exceed 75 pounds per square foot. It is perfect for use in a variety of constructions.

Horse scaffold

The horse scaffold is a scaffold designed for light or medium duty. It is composed of horses that support a work platform.

Interior hung scaffold

The interior hung scaffold is a suspension scaffold that hangs from the ceiling or roof structure.

Ladder jack scaffold

The ladder jack scaffold is a light duty scaffold that is supported by brackets attached to ladders.

Light duty scaffold

A light duty scaffold is a scaffold that is designed to carry a working load of no more than 25 pounds per square foot.

Manually propelled mobile scaffold

The scaffold is made of durable steel and supported by four casters, making it easy to move around. It’s perfect for reaching high places.

Masons’ adjustable multiple-point suspension scaffold

The Mason’s adjustable multiple-point suspension scaffold is a type of scaffold that has a platform supported by bearers. These bearers are suspended by wire rope from overhead supports, allowing the platform to be raised or lowered as needed.

Maximum intended load

The maximum intended load is the total of all loads, including the working load and the weight of the scaffold. Other loads may be anticipated, but should not exceed the maximum intended load.

Medium duty scaffold

A medium duty scaffold is a scaffold designed to carry a working load of up to 50 pounds per square foot.

Mid-rail

Mid-rail is a rail that is placed approximately midway between the guardrail and platform. It is used when required and secured to uprights that are erected along the exposed sides and ends of platforms.

Needle beam scaffold

A needle beam scaffold is a light duty scaffold that consists needle beams supporting a platform.

Outrigger scaffolds

Outrigger scaffolds are supported by outriggers or thrust-outs projecting beyond the wall or face of the building or structure. The inboard ends of outrigger scaffolds are secured inside of such a building or structure.

Putlog

Putlogs are scaffold members that the platform rests upon.

Roofing bracket

A roofing bracket is a bracket used in sloped roof construction, which has provisions for being fastened to the roof. It can also be supported by ropes that are fastened over the ridge and secured to some suitable object.

Runner

Runner is a lengthwise horizontal bracing or bearing members or both that helps to stabilize the structure.

Scaffold

Scaffolds are temporary elevated platforms used to support workmen or materials.

Single-point adjustable suspension scaffold

This single-point adjustable suspension scaffold is perfect for light-duty use. It’s manually or power-operated, and supported by a single wire rope from an overhead support. This allows you to raise or lower the platform to your desired working position quickly and easily.

Single pole scaffold

A single pole scaffold is a platform that rests on putlogs or crossbeams. The outside ends of the platform are supported by ledgers, and the inner ends are supported by a wall.

Stone setters’ adjustable multiple-point suspension scaffold

The stone setters’ adjustable multiple-point suspension scaffold is a swinging-type scaffold with a platform supported by hangers suspended at four points. The platform can be raised or lowered to the desired working position by using hoisting machines.

Toeboard

Toeboards are barriers secured along a platform’s sides and ends. They help to prevent materials from falling off of the platform.

Tube and coupler scaffold

Tube and coupler scaffold is an assembly consisting of tubing which serves as posts, bearers, braces, ties, and runners. The base supports the posts while special couplers serve to connect the uprights and join various members.

Tubular welded frame scaffold

Tubular welded frame scaffold is a sectional, panel, or frame metal scaffold that is substantially built up of prefabricated welded sections. These sections consist posts and horizontal bearers with intermediate members. Panels or frames are braced with diagonal or cross braces.

Two-point suspension scaffold (swinging scaffold)

A two-point suspension scaffold is a type of scaffolding that has a platform supported by hangers at two points. The platform can be raised or lowered to the desired working position by using a tackle or hoisting machine.

Window jack scaffold

A window jack scaffold is a scaffold with a platform that’s supported by a bracket or jack. The bracket or jack projects through a window opening.

Working load

The working load is the load imposed by men, materials, and equipment.

Definitions of terms used in OSHA Standards – 1910.29 Subpart D

Bearer

Bearers are horizontal members of a scaffold that the platform rests on. They can be supported by ledgers.

Brace

The brace is a tie that is used to hold one scaffold member in a fixed position with respect to another member.

Climbing ladder

A climbing ladder is a separate ladder with equally spaced rungs attached to the scaffold structure, used for climbing and descending.

Coupler

A coupler is a device used to lock together the components of a tubular metal scaffold. The coupler must be designed and used to safely support the maximum intended loads.

Design working load

The design working load is the maximum intended load, which includes the weight of men, materials, equipment, and platform.

Equivalent

Equivalent is the alternative design or features that can provide equivalent levels of safety, giving users the same assurance and confidence in their experience.

Guardrail

Guardrail is a barrier designed to prevent falls from platforms. Guardrail is secured to uprights and erected along the exposed sides and ends of platforms.

Handrail

Handrails provide an important safety measure for ladder stands, allowing users to ascend and descend with added security. These sturdy fixtures parallel the slope or top step of a ladder structure, giving extra stability as you climb up towards your destination.

Ladder stand

A ladder stand is a mobile, self-supporting ladder that is fixed in size. It consists of a wide flat tread ladder in the form of stairs, and may include handrails.

Ledger (stringer)

The ledger is a horizontal scaffold member that extends from post to post and supports the bearer. It forms a tie between the posts.

Mobile scaffold (tower)

Mobile scaffolds (tower) are scaffolds that are mounted on casters or wheels. They can be light, medium, or heavy duty.

Mobile

“Manually propelled.”

Mobile work platform

A mobile work platform is a frame on wheels or casters, usually one level high, with diagonal bracing from the platform to the vertical frame.

Runner

A runner is a horizontal bracing or bearing member.

Scaffold

Scaffolds are temporary elevated platforms used to support workmen and materials. Scaffolds must have vertical, diagonal, and horizontal members to be stable.

Toeboard

Toeboard is a barrier erected along the exposed sides and ends of a scaffold platform to prevent falls of materials.

Tube and coupler scaffold

Tube and coupler scaffold is an assembly consisting of tubing which serves as posts, bearers, braces, ties, and runners. It has a base supporting the posts and uprights. The assembly is used in fixed locations.

Tubular welded frame scaffold:

Tubular welded frame scaffold is a sectional, panel, or frame metal scaffold that is substantially built up of prefabricated welded sections. These sections consist of posts and bearers with intermediate connecting members. The scaffold is braced with diagonal or cross braces.

Tubular welded sectional folding scaffold

Tubular welded sectional folding scaffold is a sectional, folding metal scaffold either of ladder frame or inside stairway design. It is substantially built of prefabricated welded sections, which consist of end frames, platform frames, inside inclined stairway frames, and braces. The scaffold can be folded into a flat package when the scaffold is not in use.

Work level

The work level is an elevated platform that provides a safe and stable surface for workers and their materials. The platform is made up of vertical, horizontal, and diagonal braces to provide maximum support, as well as guardrails and a ladder for easy access. With a work level, workers can complete tasks with ease and safety.

Launch of Upside Innovations APEX and DOCK Step 

SIXAXIS ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH OF UPSIDE INNOVATIONS APEX AND DOCK STEP MODULAR ACCESS SYSTEMS

CINCINNATI, OHIO OCTOBER 28, 2022 —Upside Innovations, a SixAxis company, has launched an innovative new modular access system. The APEX System is a modular, prefabricated line of ADA, IBC, and OSHA-compliant stairs, ramps, and canopies designed to improve safe access for businesses in a wide variety of industrial, commercial, educational, and professional sectors. Industrial-grade aluminum components bolt together to create infinite configurations, making the APEX System ideal as the needs of an installation change. By eliminating the need for custom fabrication and time-consuming engineering, the APEX System reduces costs, installation time, and complexity.

DOCK STEP industrial loading dock stairs are manufactured for use in warehouses and distribution centers. Also made from industrial-grade aluminum components, DOCK STEP systems will never rust, warp, or rot. While most loading docks only require OSHA compliance, Upside systems are also IBC and ADA compliant maximizing safety for those entering and exiting the loading dock area.

TK Render of OSHA/IBC DOCK Steps
DOCK Step

President Kevin Sharp is pleased with the expansion of the Upside Innovations modular access product line. “DOCK STEP joins the APEX System family of products including the SEMI and OMNI product lines,” he explains. “Our integrated access system of prefabricated stairs, ramps, canopies, and awnings meet the needs of our customers on a more comprehensive level.” To learn more about the APEX System, visit https://upsideinnovations.com/

SixAxis has been providing access and safety systems to the truck, rail, ship, aviation, and aerospace industries using state-of-the-art technology since 2003. Their award-winning patented products are marketed under brands including SafeRack, ErectaStep, MarinaStep, AeroStep, YellowGate, RollaStep, and Upside Innovations.

About SixAxis

SixAxis was founded in 2002 to deliver high-quality loading rack and fall protection solutions to companies around the world. Their award-winning products and patents have been developed to increase safety and boost productivity for industry-leading Fortune 500 companies such as Boeing, Dow, and Coca-Cola. For information about how SixAxis is changing the world of manufacturing, visit sixaxisllc.com. 

Career Opportunities

At SixAxis, we don’t just create products, we’ve revolutionized safety. The diversity of our people and their ideas inspire the innovation that runs through everything we do, from patented technology to industry-leading thinking. Interested in helping us make the world a safer place? Join our growing team. Get started by visiting us at sixaxisllc.com/careers

Upside Employees Lining Up at Foodtruck

Celebrating two years without a lost time accident

Upside Innovations’ team celebrates two years since a lost-time accident

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

WEST CHESTER, OH (October 5, 2022) – Upside Innovation celebrated 2-years without a lost-time accident last week by bringing in J’s Fish Taco truck for a luncheon at our West Chester, OH headquarters on October 5th. This milestone comes after significant focus by the team on accident prevention. We have driven a safety culture by identifying and highlighting “Good Safety Catches” from all levels within the organization.

Our “Good Catch” program has grown over the last few months and works by encouraging employees to identify and acknowledge safe acts from coworkers, and address potential safety hazards as they are noticed and before they can cause an injury. Safety and prior day good catches lead the discussion at our daily lean daily management meetings every morning. This laser focus has created an environment where an employee sees something and immediately does something to reduce the risk.

We look forward to embarking on our third year without a lost-time accident and believe this will be possible with continued focus on keeping an eye out for each other, commending each other on good safe practices, and taking action on identified hazards.

Upside Innovations is a SixAxis portfolio company.

Render of Wheelchair Ramp Requirements

Creating Safe & Equal Access for All with Wheelchair Accessible Ramps

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Safe access to public, private, and commercial buildings is necessary to keep schools, health care services, churches, and businesses accessible for people of all physical abilities. Whether you are welcoming visitors, customers, patients, or employees to your hospital, school, church, or private business, ensuring appropriate, independent access for those with limited mobility is essential, and in many cases required by law.

Commercial-grade wheelchair ramps can be permanent or portable and modular and enable people equal access to your modular building regardless of their mobility limitations. Safe, smooth access for anyone, regardless of their physical challenges, is necessary for creating a welcoming and inclusive environment. Modular wheelchair ramps are an excellent way to do just that.

Choosing a Ramp to Fit All Mobility Devices

It’s important to consider the wide variety of mobility equipment that will be utilized by people on your ramp when choosing a proper fit. Patients in various states of recovery from surgery or injury may need the assistance of a wheelchair, scooter, walker, or cane. As healing and recovery happen, visitors to your building may no longer need these devices and a portable ramp may feel like the best option. But don’t assume these needs will be temporary!

Investment in a permanent ramp may be the best option when considering the needs of those people with a permanent need for mobility assistive devices. Many people who live with lifelong or progressive mobility challenges will benefit from a permanent ramp to accommodate safe and easy access to your building. And don’t forget about weather impacts such as snow, ice, and wind. Ramp access should always include extra precautions to prevent slips, trips, and falls as a result of extreme weather. Take care to consider drainage and traction issues as the seasons change in your region.


DIY or Hire a Professional?
Whether you choose to install your wheelchair ramp yourself or hire a professional, it is vital that care is taken to ensure optimal safety as well as compliance with all regional or industry-specific laws. If you or someone on your team have construction skills, self-installation is an excellent option. No matter your skillset or background, always consult with your local building codes and compliance requirements to ensure your wheelchair ramp is installed correctly. 

Not ready to take this on yourself? Professional installation is probably right for you. Whether your wheelchair ramp will be permanent, semi-permanent, modular, or temporary, a complicated design or 180-degree switchback design will most definitely require the use of a professional installer. And it doesn’t end there! Consider how your wheelchair ramp will affect your building’s market value, and don’t scrimp on quality for any reason.

ADA Compliant Ramps

People with mobility impairments are entitled to reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Although the location and size of your business may exclude you from this obligation, compliance can be of great benefit to your business and the people you serve.

Professional installers should be well aware of ADA ramp regulations, the rationale behind each guideline, and the areas where safe deviations can be made based on the specific installation. While the ADA is not mandatory for ramps used at home, modular ramps for public use must still comply with the ADA in most cases.

Custom APEX Ramp Install Cleveland Court House
This 70′ APEX switchback Ramp was Installed at the Cuyahoga County Court House in Cleveland, Ohio.

Installers who are inexperienced may not know how to determine a wheelchair ramp slope that is safe for your building. A ramp that is too short could be unsafe for visitors using a particular mobility device. Additionally, details such as the exact width of your handicap ramp or turn platforms and when a rest platform is required are equally significant. Without attention to state and federal ADA regulations, your ramp could be unsafe, non-compliant, and in need of adjustments later.

In addition to proper installation, your wheelchair ramp must also provide safety features such as a slip-resistant surface, a sturdy decking or travel surface, and handrails with a suitable height. While some accidents are unavoidable, a professionally installed, ADA-compliant wheelchair ramp is more likely to prevent unnecessary mishaps. 

The Importance of Your Wheelchair Ramp

While your business’s wheelchair ramp may seem like a simple, straightforward component related to the infrastructure of your building, the proper installation, care, and maintenance of it will go a long way toward helping differently-abled individuals feel included and accepted by your service, business, or institution. Safe and secure wheelchair ramps send a positive message in any public space or establishment that aims to be inclusive and accessible for all. By providing a safe and easy way for wheelchair users to enter and exit buildings, wheelchair ramps empower differently-abled individuals to participate fully in shared public life. 

Safety & Accessibility Are Your Responsibility
There’s no denying that wheelchair ramps are an essential accommodation for people with mobility impairments, such as those who use walkers or crutches, and play a crucial role in promoting inclusion and accessibility. By doing the right thing and installing a safe and secure ADA-compliant ramp for your modular building, you are not only becoming a part of the solution, but you are helping to facilitate a broader cultural shift towards greater awareness and acceptance of disability as an integral part of society.

Creating Safe & Equal Access for All with Wheelchair Accessible Ramps
Safe access to public, private, and commercial buildings is necessary to keep schools, health care services, churches, and businesses accessible for people of all physical abilities. Whether you are welcoming visitors, customers, patients, or employees to your hospital, school, church, or private business, ensuring appropriate, independent access for those with limited mobility is essential, and in many cases required by law.


Commercial-grade wheelchair ramps can be permanent or portable and modular and enable people equal access to your modular building regardless of their mobility limitations. Safe, smooth access for anyone, regardless of their physical challenges, is necessary for creating a welcoming and inclusive environment. Modular wheelchair ramps are an excellent way to do just that.

Choosing a Ramp to Fit All Mobility Devices

It’s important to consider the wide variety of mobility equipment that will be utilized by people on your ramp when choosing a proper fit. Patients in various states of recovery from surgery or injury may need the assistance of a wheelchair, scooter, walker, or cane. As healing and recovery happen, visitors to your building may no longer need these devices and a portable ramp may feel like the best option. But don’t assume these needs will be temporary!

Investment in a permanent ramp may be the best option when considering the needs of those people with a permanent need for mobility assistive devices. Many people who live with lifelong or progressive mobility challenges will benefit from a permanent ramp to accommodate safe and easy access to your building. And don’t forget about weather impacts such as snow, ice, and wind. Ramp access should always include extra precautions to prevent slips, trips, and falls as a result of extreme weather. Take care to consider drainage and traction issues as the seasons change in your region.


DIY or Hire a Professional?
Whether you choose to install your wheelchair ramp yourself or hire a professional, it is vital that care is taken to ensure optimal safety as well as compliance with all regional or industry-specific laws. If you or someone on your team have construction skills, self-installation is an excellent option. No matter your skillset or background, always consult with your local building codes and compliance requirements to ensure your wheelchair ramp is installed correctly. 

Not ready to take this on yourself? Professional installation is probably right for you. Whether your wheelchair ramp will be permanent, semi-permanent, modular, or temporary, a complicated design or 180-degree switchback design will most definitely require the use of a professional installer. And it doesn’t end there! Consider how your wheelchair ramp will affect your building’s market value, and don’t scrimp on quality for any reason.

The Importance of Your Wheelchair Ramp

While your business’s wheelchair ramp may seem like a simple, straightforward component related to the infrastructure of your building, the proper installation, care, and maintenance of it will go a long way toward helping differently-abled individuals feel included and accepted by your service, business, or institution. Safe and secure wheelchair ramps send a positive message in any public space or establishment that aims to be inclusive and accessible for all. By providing a safe and easy way for wheelchair users to enter and exit buildings, wheelchair ramps empower differently-abled individuals to participate fully in shared public life. 

Safety & Accessibility Are Your Responsibility
There’s no denying that wheelchair ramps are an essential accommodation for people with mobility impairments, such as those who use walkers or crutches, and play a crucial role in promoting inclusion and accessibility. By doing the right thing and installing a safe and secure ADA-compliant ramp for your modular building, you are not only becoming a part of the solution, but you are helping to facilitate a broader cultural shift towards greater awareness and acceptance of disability as an integral part of society.

Covered walkway between buildings

4 Tips to Retain Commercial Tenants

For landlords, retaining current tenants is extremely critical to generating and sustaining a good source of income for the long term. However, keeping them isn’t like a walk in the park, especially if you manage many renters. A variety of criteria influences renter retention in commercial retail establishments.

Here are four key tips that commercial real estate property owners can use to maintain commercial tenants:

Create an open channel of contact and be receptive to their concerns

Commercial renters often do not demand much care, but they anticipate a prompt answer when they contact a maintenance request or other problems. A quicker reaction is a positive indicator, and it will make retail renters feel more at ease in your facility. If the renter does not respond promptly, they may consider looking for another rental property. Providing greater attention to the interests like the safety of their workers will result in higher levels of satisfaction and a greater likelihood of tenants renewing their lease.

Simplify the procedure and include incentives

Attempt to make the processes as simple as possible for renters by streamlining them where feasible. Renter process optimization may go a long way in assisting you in increasing tenant satisfaction and increasing the possibility of obtaining commercial retail renters. Several strategies to expedite operations include allowing renters to pay rent online or providing them with online access to submit maintenance requests for metal awnings.

Another strategy to keep your tenants happy is to reward them for renewing their contracts. You can provide incentives such as limited-time deals, freebies, discounts, and so on.

Put together a plan

Operating a commercial property is similar to launching a small business, and there must be mechanisms in place for a retail location to be viable. To run a good property management company, you need to ensure that the property is well-kept and that the current tenants and employees are safe in their facilities like having handrails in proper OSHA-established heights. If a good system exists, a property owner can simply deal with maintenance concerns, repairs, and renters.

Begin as soon as possible

Be on the lookout for any leases that will be up for renewal or expiration in the next two years, as well. Negotiations can begin as soon as the due dates approach, depending on the property selections and the buy-and-hold plan.

Keeping tenants happy is a key part of managing the rental property. While many factors influence renter retention, these four tips can help you maintain your commercial tenants for years to come. Do you have any other suggestions on keeping renters long-term? Please share them with us in the comments!

Heirarchy-of-Controls

Active vs. Passive Fall Protection: Standing Within OSHA’s Hierarchy of Controls

It would be ideal for every safety professional to find a straightforward solution when dealing with fall accidents in the workplace.

It would seem that having a uniform height across all jobs and sectors would make enforcement easy. However, this is not the case for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). While OSHA’s goal is to keep people safe in most businesses, keep in mind that local construction codes, such as OSHA, contracts, and site regulations may exceed statutory standards.

Heirarchy-of-Controls

The distinction between passive and active fall prevention is a reasonable starting point. Industrial operation managers will be more educated to choose one course over another after that. The importance of knowledge in terms of safety is never an understatement.

Falls need careful consideration from safety professionals, and adding fall prevention training may boost morale. Talking about what happened during the incident can show that the company cares and improves how it plans to avoid these accidents from happening or recurring if they have already occurred before.

At the baseline, the proactive approach in fall protection should include:

  • The organization should identify the reason for the fall.
  • Examine and dismantle any malfunctioning personal fall arrest devices or equipment, such as scaffolding, work platforms, or ladders that may have contributed to the fall.
  • Create a fall prevention strategy or assess one that the company already has in place.
  • Talk to employees about their difficulties openly and honestly.
  • Organize a fall prevention retraining course and make the need for fall protection known throughout the business. 

OSHA has set limits for workplace height. Suppose any company does not meet these proposed limits. In that case, it is recommended that employers take precautions before risking an employee’s life by falling too far onto specific equipment or into dangerous situations like staircases while moving materials around on-site at job sites with no guardrails nearby.

OSHA Height Limits

In summary, here are the OSHA height limits where fall protection is required:

  • Four feet (1.2 meters) for industrial workspaces OSHA 1910.28(b)(1)(i)
  • Five feet (1.5 meters) for shipyards
  • Six feet (1.82 meters) for construction sites OSHA 1926.501(b)(1)
  • Eight feet (2.43 meters) for longshoring operations 

Employers may safeguard workers against falls in various ways, including using traditional methods like guardrails, safety nets, personal fall protection devices, implementing safe work practices, and providing proper training. In some cases, OSHA allows the use of warning lines, designated areas, control zones, and other similar systems, which can offer protection by restricting the number of employees exposed. 

Thinking about fall risks before the job begins, whether completing a hazard assessment or building a thorough fall protection strategy, will assist the employer in managing fall hazards and focusing emphasis on preventive measures. If personal fall protection devices are utilized, special attention should be paid to locating attachment points and ensuring that personnel correctly understand operating and inspect the equipment.

Active vs. Passive Fall Protection

A passive fall prevention system includes all safety features that are essentially static, immovable, or unmovable. When installing a passive system for fall prevention, there is no requirement for human involvement with the device, and no personal protective equipment is required. As previously indicated, they serve as the second line of safety against falls. The well-known examples of passive fall protection systems are:

A stair railing is available to halt a fall regardless a person is holding onto it or not. Whether workers are watching their steps or not, a netting beneath a scaffold will capture them. Put another way, there is hardly anything anyone can do to ensure that passive systems preserve their life or limb.

On the flip side, active fall protection technologies can be used when passive fall prevention is not an option. The active system is often viewed as dynamic, feature moving elements and necessitates human intervention to operate effectively. Workers must put their safety first by putting on the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) as part of an active system. A fall prevention system that is active consists of the following moveable components:

Hierarchy of Controls for Fall Protection

OSHA’s Hierarchy of Controls for fall protection appeared in their 2011 student manual. This hierarchy explains how to prioritize fall protection solutions. The fall protection hierarchy is utilized as the framework for the most appropriate strategy to prevent workplace falls. This blueprint employs the fall protection hierarchy to identify fall risks and then provides the most beneficial and viable approach for addressing the existing threats.

Obviously, the best approach should first start with prevention — when an organization eliminates fall hazards. Fall protection should be our first alternative in many cases because preventative strategies are not always accessible. If the fall dangers cannot be removed, the next step is to choose the best fall protection solution for the job.

Hierarchy of Controls for Fall Protection

Naturally, no single fall prevention solution is sufficient for all work functions. We must always examine each work and activity to establish the correct form of fall protection since the structure will differ from project to project.

Passive and active fall protection methods are in the middle of the hierarchy, with passive methods ranking more effective than the active methods because these passive methods complement in eliminating fall hazards. Active fall restraints rank better than administrative controls and personal protective equipment (PPE). To construct a system that safeguards individuals from fall hazards, companies need a skilled engineer and a competent person to implement policies or make these restraints operate effectively.

Organizations do need any special equipment to confine themselves by eliminating hazards or passive fall protection. When prevention does not cut the hazards completely, protection methods in the lower rung of the hierarchy can be applied. Administrative controls like marking controlled access zones, the management, administrators, and other staff members must take a stand to implement the correct use of fall safety equipment. A knowledge-based teaching approach will provide workers with the skills they need to establish safe working environments for when personnel is required to operate at a certain height. Administrative controls and PPE provision will encourage the necessary intervention and engagement of the workforce to integrate with preventive strategies.

Picture of Solar Panels

Big-Time Solar Panel Contractor Cited for OSHA Violations

A well-known solar panel contractor has been cited for exposing workers to dangerous fall hazards. The company headquartered in Louisiana is one of the leading solar panel installers in the nation. OSHA issued a third-party citation after an investigation found that it violated federal workplace safety requirements despite being previously cited twice in two years.

Following an inquiry by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Marc Jones Construction LLC – also known as Sunpro Solar – for a repeat safety violation after inspectors discovered employees exposed to falls, the most common cause of death and severe injuries in the construction business. Furthermore, the government agency cited the firm for permitting staff to climb up and down extension ladders while holding items that may have prompted them to fall and for screwing up to offer employees a fall safety program.

Marc Jones Construction LLC had received two repeat violations prior, which are issued when an employer previously experienced a similar breach of the same standard or regulation. OSHA referred the Louisiana-based company for similar violations twice in Texas, San Antonio in January 2021, and El Paso in April 2020. “This is another example that falls continue to be one of the leading causes for death and serious injury in construction work,” said DOL OSHA Regional Administrator Condell Eastmond. The OSHA fined the company almost $161,000 in penalties for the violations it committed.

side-view-commercial-metal-awning

Based in Mandeville, Louisiana, Marc Jones Construction LLC is a business and residential solar panel installation firm with operations in 21 states. Sunpro Solar, formed in 2008, was named second on “Solar Power World” magazine’s rank of leading home solar installers in the United States in 2021.

After receiving the citations and fines, the organization has 15 business days to cooperate, seek an informal meeting with OSHA’s local director, or appeal the allegations before the independent OSHA commission.

Roofing contractors have become a target of OSHA inspections. At least five roofing contractors were cited in 2018 for violating workplace safety requirements, including one in Kentucky. The installation of metal awnings is being considered to be prone to fall hazards. This is the reason why Upside Innovations is providing experts to ensure that there are no untoward incidents in your workplace or your facilities. Upside Innovations stays committed to ensuring the safety of our employees and protecting the environment through safe work practices.

Roof-mounted railings are a common type of safety measure employed by contractors. Guardrails with safety swing gates are generally placed six feet from the edge of the roof. If anything near the border, like a condenser unit, barriers are needed right up to it.

It may be unappealing to put bright yellow barriers around the perimeter of the roof. There are methods to meet OSHA standards without resorting to such measures. Galvanized rails, for example, are less obtrusive visually but might be prone to corrosion. This is why aluminum handrails are recommended for them to be more durable in weather conditions on the rooftop.

The use of guardrails is also an architectural problem. Some building owners, for example, surround the roof with bright yellow rails. It is under OSHA standards, but it gives the impression that the facility is always under construction and distracted from other structure areas. There are several alternative products available to assist building owners in acquiring OSHA permits. What is important is that building workers and visitors are kept safe in case of stair accidents or slips happen in these building areas.

ADA Compliant Logo

Difference Between ADA and OSHA

We use the terms “ADA” and “OSHA” so often when referring to our access products, and sometimes we forget that people might not know the difference.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, and retail locations. There is a set of regulations that public buildings must follow. Below are the key ADA-compliant regulations for steps:

  • All steps should have uniform riser heights and tread widths
  • Stair treads should be no less than 11″ wide (measured from riser to riser)
    • Open risers are not permitted
  • Handrail gripping surface shall be mounted between 34” and 38” with railing height above stair nosings
  • The ends of the handrails should be rounded or returned smoothly to the floor

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created to assure safe and healthful working conditions for employees. These regulations apply to steps that are used by employees only, not steps that are open to the public.

  • The minimum dimension for landings is 22” wide x 30” deep
  • All stairs with four or more risers are required to have handrails and guardrails
  • Variations in riser height or stair tread depth must not exceed .25″ in any stairway
  • Stairways must be installed between 30 and 50 degrees from the horizontal

Whether you need ADA steps for public access or OSHA steps for workplace safety, Upside has the solution.

OSHA Dual-Step
OSHA Crossover Stairs
Photo showing Upside Innovations Team Working in Warehouse

Area of Refuge Requirements

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes


What is an Area of Refuge?

An Area of Refuge is a safe waiting space for people during an emergency evacuation


The information in this guide references the International Building Code 1009.6

Area of Refuge?

The International Building Code (IBC) defines it as “an area where persons unable to use stairways can remain temporarily to await instructions or assistance during an emergency evacuation.” For example, people in wheelchairs or elderly people would have difficulties going down the stairs, so they need an area where they can wait for help.

These waiting areas must be fire-resistant and protected from smoke, so people can safely wait for emergency responders.

What are the dimensions?

The Area of Refuge size determines how many wheelchair spaces your building requires. One wheelchair space is a minimum of 30″ x 48″.

Area of refuge dimensions

Is my building required to have an Area of Refuge?

The IBC requires that all new construction must comply with the most current regulations, which require an Area of Refuge. Existing buildings are not required to make alterations to comply with IBC. The only time new construction is not required to have refuge areas is if both of the following are true:

  1. The building has a supervised automated sprinkler system
  2. Has a wheelchair-friendly route (i.e. ADA ramp system) out and away from the building.

Single-story buildings that are level with grade do not have to have refuge areas because everybody can exit the building on their own.

How many areas do I need?

First, for any building that is above grade or has multiple floors, you will need to determine how many means of egress paths you need.

The required number of means of egress paths are determined by the occupant load:

Occupant LoadRequired Means of Egress
<5002
500-9993
>1,0004

The only exception to this rule applies when a business has 30 occupants or less AND the distance to an exit is no more than 75 feet.

According to the code, you will need at least two of the means of egress to be accessible from any area that can be accessed by somebody in a wheelchair.

An accessible means of egress means it is a way for somebody in a wheelchair to get outside or wait safely for help. It can consist of an elevator, platform lift, ramp, or interior or exterior area of refuge.

In order to be considered “accessible”, a stairway between stories will need to incorporate an Area of Refuge unless there is an automatic sprinkler system.

How many wheelchair spaces do I need?

Within an Area of Refuge, you may need to have multiple wheelchair spaces. IBC requires that you have one 30″ x 48″ wheelchair space for every 200 occupants that the means of egress serves. A wheelchair space cannot block access in or out of more than one adjacent wheelchair space.

wheelchair space requirements

Where are they required?

The following areas can be designated as an Area of Refuge:

  1. Stairwell – the stairwell must be enclosed.
  2. Elevator lobby – elevator in the lobby must be equipped with standby power.
  3. Horizontal exit – a horizontal exit can act as an Area of Refuge. A horizontal exit is a fire-resistant wall that separates an area into two areas. For example, if a fire started in Room A, a horizontal exit would have a fire-resistant wall that separated Room A from Room B. Room B serves as the Area of Refuge.
Area of Refuge Horizontal exit

If you are unable to have an accessible means of egress (i.e. ADA ramp) down to the ground, you must have an Area of Refuge at either of the following locations EVEN IF the building has a sprinkler system:

  1. Interior side of an exit door – it must be enclosed by fire-resistant, interior wall.
  2. Exterior side of an exit door – the exterior wall adjacent to the Area of Refuge must be fire-resistant.
Interior and exterior area of refuge

Areas of Refuge are necessary to give all building occupants a safe route during an emergency. View the United States Access Board: Chapter 4 for more details on means of egress and Areas of Refuge.

Inc.5000 Logo

Upside Earns Rank in Inc. 5000

We are excited to announce that Upside Innovations made the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. – an accomplishment that we couldn’t have achieved without our customers and the effort put forth by our team. Thank you to everyone that has helped us reach this goal

!Thank you for your continued support!

How it works:

The companies that rank on the Inc. 5000 list are ranked according to percentage revenue growth over a three-year period. Companies that comprise the 2018 list are evaluated based on their 2014 and 2017 revenues. To qualify, the companies must have generated revenue by March 31, 2014 and be independent, privately held, for-profit companies as of December 31, 2017.

Upside’s growth:

In terms of revenue, Upside Innovations has grown a miraculous 206% over the three-year period when the average growth rate for the Inc. 5,000 list is 158%. We have also increased the number of employees from 18 in 2014 to 39 in 2017 which is a 117% employee growth rate.

Reference point: Average revenue growth for Ohio 135.4%

Reference point: Average employee growth for Ohio 113%

Like most companies, Upside Innovations had humble beginnings, but through many ups and downs, our team and business continues to grow. Read about Upside’s journey that began in 2009, and see just how much Upside has transformed.

Our Rankings:

#17 top Cincinnati company

#48 top manufacturing company in the U.S.

#2153 fastest growing business in the U.S.

View a composite list of the Inc. 5000.

ADA Ramp Material

Best ADA Ramp Material

Choosing the best ADA wheelchair ramp material can be difficult, especially when trying to balance quality and price along with any other factors that may be important to you. Here is a breakdown of some of the ADA ramp material properties to consider, including weight, strength, corrosion resistance and cost of aluminum, iron, steel, wood and concrete.

Aluminum

The best-known properties of aluminum are its light weight yet high tensile strength, which gives it an ideal weight to strength ratio in construction applications. It is approximately one third the density of steel and much lighter than steel. Aluminum alloys commonly have tensile strength between 70 and 700 MPa, and the range for alloys used in extrusion is normally between 150 – 300 MPa. 

What is tensile strength? It is the maximum amount of tensile (tension) stress a material can endure before failure, such as breaking or permanent deformation. Tensile strength is commonly measured using MPa, which stands for megapascals. As a point of reference, the tensile strength for structural steel is 400MPa.

Aluminum is also corrosion resistant because when it reacts with oxygen in the air, a thin layer of oxide is formed. Anodizing aluminum will increase the thickness of the natural oxide layer which will further protect the material from corrosion, especially corrosion due to outdoor elements. This layer is self-repairing when damaged and provides better adhesion for paint primers and glues than other bare metals. Aluminum is extremely durable in neutral and slightly acidic environments, but corrosion occurs quickly in high acidic environments. High acidic environments can consist of sulfuric pools and geysers along with areas polluted by acid mine drainage.

Another bonus of aluminum is that it is the third most common element on Earth’s crust, and aluminum compounds occur naturally in our food. Thus, it has zero toxicity and is completely recyclable.

For everything considered, including its light weight, high tensile strength, corrosion resistance and recyclability, aluminum is very cost-effective ADA ramp material.

Metals-and-alloys-strength
Metals & Alloys: Strength to Cost
Metals-and-alloys-elasticity
Metals & Alloys: Elasticity to Cost

Iron & Steel

Iron is generally cheaper than aluminum because aluminum is more expensive to extract from its ore.

Iron is slightly stronger than aluminum in terms of tensile strength, but it is much more dense and heavy, making it more difficult to install in certain applications. Cast iron’s tensile strength is commonly between 60 and 800MPa while mild steel is around 300MPa. So what’s the difference between iron and steel? Iron is an element while steel is an alloy that is comprised of iron and carbon.

Different grades of steel exist, each with varying amounts of carbon in them. Carbon is incorporated into the iron during a smelting process which involves controlled heating and cooling of molten iron. A higher level of carbon in steel means that it will be harder, but it will also be more brittle. Whereas lower amounts of carbon allow steel to be softer but more malleable. In general, alloys are much stronger than pure metals, so steel is stronger than iron and consequently more expensive.

Iron is commonly used in construction applications and is usually covered with a strong protective coating or buried within other building materials. Why? Because iron alone is not weather-resistant. The surface of the material readily combines with the oxygen in the air in the presence of moisture, thus, creating rust. In completely dry air, however, iron does not rust. That said, consumers typically opt for a galvanized product. Galvanization is the process of applying a protective zinc coating to iron or steel to prevent rusting; the thicker the zinc coating, the longer it will resist corrosion. This process will increase the initial cost of the product, but will increase the life of the product.

The main concern with galvanization is that the zinc coating eventually develops a natural carbonate on its surface by exposure to the atmosphere and rainwater. The carbonate can become brittle and crusty and eventually split, exposing fresh zinc for corrosion. Since the zinc coating is thin, it can corrode up to the base metal exposing the base to the atmosphere and corrosion as well.

Wood

Wood is typically weaker than steel, iron and aluminum, yet it is not much cheaper on average. Pine and Oak are the strongest woods that would be used for structural applications with tensile strengths between 70 and 90MPa.

It is known that no matter what type of wood is used, it is always stronger when cut with the grain. 

So why is wood stronger when cut with the grain? Wood is a natural substance that is much stronger when the grain is continuous. Think about packing together a bunch of straws; each individual straw is weak, but they become quite strong when altogether. Wood works the same way with its strands of cellulose fibers – when fibers are continuous (packed together like straws) and cut with the grain they are stronger.

Wood is cheaper than the aforementioned ADA ramp material, but the lower cost comes with a maintenance price. Like iron and steel, wood must be treated to prevent corrosion. People typically use a sealer or varnish to prevent rotting and warping, but the sealer must be reapplied every year to maintain its appearance. However, even with treatment, wood does not have anywhere near the lifetime of aluminum; wood will expand in the heat and shrink in the winter even with finishes. Along with rotting and warping, wood can splinter, which can be hazardous if being used by the public.

wood-and-wood-products
Wood & Wood Products: Strength to Cost
Wood-and-wood-products-elasticity
Wood & Wood Products: Elasticity to Cost

Concrete

Concrete is weak in terms of tensile strength with a range of 2-5MPa. Recall tension and compression are not the same; tension forces materials apart whereas compression forces materials together. Concrete weight is typically measured in terms of compressive strength because most concrete applications don’t experience tension. The compressive strength, which is usually about 10x the tensile strength, of concrete is 20 to 40MPa, which is still much less than other materials. In addition, concrete has a very low thermal coefficient of expansion which means that it is highly vulnerable to cracking. Cracking happens more quickly in environments where the temperature is constantly rising and falling.

Another cause of corrosion can be the expansion of the reinforcement steel. If the steel is located too close to the surface of the concrete, it is exposed to air and spalling can occur. Spalling is a process where flat fragments of the concrete chip off from the mass by the structural steel.

Concrete is a relatively cheap ADA ramp material option, but there are many factors that can lead to quick corrosion.

Ceramics: Strength to Cost
Ceramics: Elasticity to Cost

*Young’s Modulus from the charts above can also be referred to as Elastic Modulus, which determines the elasticity of a certain material. Charts courtesy of the Department of Engineering from Cambridge University.

Summary

All of these are good ADA ramp materials, but each one functions best in different environments and applications. The optimal ADA ramp material for an outdoor location with fluctuating temperatures would be aluminum followed by steel. Wood is a cheaper option that can also be used outdoors but would require yearly maintenance due to the likelihood of corrosion and warping. If price is the most important factor and other properties don’t matter, concrete would suffice.

Pick the characteristics that are important to you as a buyer or user, and choose the associated material that fits your need.

To better understand what it means for a ramp to be ADA compliant, read our Beginner’s Guide to Complete ADA Compliance.

Crossover stairs over conveyor

Crossover Metal Stairs for Industrial Applications

Crossover Stair

Crossover metal stairs have at least two sets of stairs that are connected by one or more platforms and are designed to allow employees to safely travel up and over physical barriers in the workplace. Without stairs that provide access over the barriers, employees could be injured if they try to climb over or crawl under the object. The crossover stairs must comply with OSHA regulations to ensure that employees will not fall.

Aluminum is the most common material used for crossover steps because it is lightweight yet strong, and it won’t rust in a wet or humid environment. Steel is sometimes used, but it will rust, it is more expensive, and it’s bulkier than aluminum.

Crossover metals stairs commonly provide access over barriers such as conveyor belts, industrial pipes and ducts, and walls that don’t extend all the way to the ceiling. There are a variety of common crossover stair layouts that can accommodate a variety of barrier sizes, locations, and configurations.

Simplified Crossover Layouts:

crossover metal stairs layout
C-SHAPE CROSSOVER
crossover metal stairs layout
H-SHAPE CROSSOVER
Crossover metal stairs layout
STRAIGHT CROSSOVER
Crossover metal stairs layout
L-SHAPE CROSSOVER
Crossover metal stairs layout
Z-SHAPE CROSSOVER

The C-shape layout below was designed to help employees cross over a conveyor belt that moved materials through a small opening and into another room. The crossover platform was designed to be high enough to give enough clearance underneath so that the materials could still fit through the opening.

11221 REV-A.dft

This is the final set of crossover metal stairs installed to give access over the conveyor belt. The step risers are of equal heights, and guardrails are provided for fall-protection.


Upside Innovations will custom design a set of crossover metal stairs to meet your specifications whereas many suppliers offer a standard product that may not fit your unique application. The Upside Crossover Steps can utilize either a Grip Strut walking surface or an extruded, aluminum decking. Grip Strut is more of an aggressive tread with holes in the surface, and extruded decking is a solid surface with little raised strips for traction.

clark-associates

Metal Handrail for Stairs

A Simple Guide to ADA Handrails

1. Located on both sides

Handrails must be on both sides of the stairs and ramps. For OSHA stair handrails, however, it can be just on one side.

2. Continuous

Handrails must be continuous through the full length of the stair flight or ramp run. They cannot end or break at any point within the bounds of the steps or ramp. This guideline applies to all handrails, including the inside handrails on switchback or L-shaped stairs and ramps; they must continue through the platforms.

handrail heights for stairs, ramps and walking surfaces

3. Positioned between 34″ to 38″ above surface

The top of the gripping surfaces must be between 34″ and 38″ above the walking surface. For a set of steps, the height of the handrail is measured from the edge of each nosing to the top of the handrail. For ramps and platforms, the handrail height can be measured at any point along the path. Handrails should be at a consistent height for the length of the stair flight or ramp run, including any platforms

4. Minimal obstruction

Handrail gripping surfaces should have minimal obstruction. They cannot be obstructed along their tops or sides, and the bottoms should not be obstructed for more than 20% of their length. This guideline ensures that persons using the steps or ramp can easily grip the handrails. This also a reason why aluminum stairs must be free of dirt and must be kept clean at all times.

5. Be “graspable”

ADA handrails with a circular cross-section should have an outside diameter between 1.25″ and 2″. ADA handrails with a non-circular cross-section should have a perimeter dimension between 4″ and 6.25″ with a maximum cross-section dimension of 2.25″.

minimum step and ramp handrail perimeter

6. Extend past the length of the ramp and/or stairs

Ramp handrails should extend straight and horizontally above the landing for at least 12″ beyond both the top and bottom of ramp runs. If the ramp does not continue after the landing, the extensions should return to a wall, guard, or landing surface. If it does continue, the handrail should be continuous.

Stair handrail parts should extend horizontally for at least 12″ beginning directly above the first riser nosing. Extensions should return to a wall, guard, or the landing surface if there is no adjacent flight of steps. If there is an adjacent flight, the handrail should be continuous.

At the bottom of a stair flight, the handrails should extend at the slope of the stair flight for a horizontal distance at least equal to one tread depth beyond the last riser nosing. The extension should return to a wall, guard, or the landing surface or should be continuous to the handrail of an adjacent stair flight.

Handrail extensions for ramps
metal handrails gripping handle
standard ADA handrail tread depth

7. No sharp elements

Handrail gripping surfaces and any surfaces adjacent to them should be free of sharp or abrasive elements and should have rounded edges.

8. Should not rotate within their fittings

Handrails that are connected with fittings should be secure and not rotate. 

Warehouse stairs

Reusable Aluminum Steps

Our aluminum steps debuted at the U.S. Women’s Open Golf Tournament this July! One of our customers ordered several sets of second-story steps last year for multiple event locations in Florida. This year, they disassembled the steps, moved them to New Jersey, and set them up for the golf tournament.

View the installation guide to see just how easy it is to assemble and disassemble Upside’s aluminum steps.

  • Lay the platform upside down on the ground.
  • Insert 4 platform legs into the corner pockets, and make sure the holes align as shown in the picture.
  • Use (2) 1″ bolts with (2) flat washers to secure each leg to each pocket.
  • The bolts will thread into the pre-installed rivet nuts at the ends of the platform legs.
  • Insert 4 platform base legs into the platform legs, and make sure the holes align with the slots as shown in the picture.
  • Use (2) 1″ bolts with (2) lock washers and (2) flat washers to secure each base leg to each platform leg at the desired height.
  • The bolts will thread into the pre-installed rivet nuts in the base legs.
  • This connection may need to be adjusted later in order to level the platform.
  • Set the platform against the building just below the threshold.
  • Use a 4′ level to determine if the platform is level in both directions.
  • If adjustments need to be made, loosen the (2) 1″ bolts that connect the base leg to the platform leg, and telescope the base leg up or down to the appropriate height and retighten the bolts.
  • A bolt may need to be completely removed if it runs into the end of the slot.
  • Reinstall the bolt in another hole that will appear at the opposite end of the same slot and retighten.
  • Locate the step connector hook and bolt it to the platform on the side where the step will be installed. As shown, the step is at the center of the platform. Consult the job-specific layout to determine where the step should be connected to the platform.
  • Use (4) 1″ bolts with (4) flat washers and (4) flange nuts to connect the plate to the platform side through the four holes. If holes in the platform edge are missing, they will need to be drilled through with a 7/16″ drill bit.
  • Lift the upper end of the step riser, and hook it onto the hook that was previously bolted to the platform.
  • Insert the step guardrail posts into the upper and lower pockets on the step riser until the pre-installed rivet nuts in the posts align with the slots in the pockets.
  • Use (8) 1″ bolts with flat washers to secure the four posts to the four pockets. Thread the bolts into the rivet nuts in the step rail posts through the slots in the upper and lower pockets on the step riser.
  • Steps over 50″ high will have three posts per guardrail instead of two, as shown.
  • At the top of each step, two-step keys are required to secure the step to the platform.
  • Orient the key against the back side of the upper pockets on the step riser.
  • Use (2) 1-1/4″ tek screws to secure the step key to the platform decking. The holes in the key should be used as a drilling guide.

    Suppose you want to add aluminum stairs or ramps to your home, business, or industrial space. In that case, the best way to ensure your safety and satisfaction is through tools like a ramp slope calculator or software. At Upside Innovations, we appreciate the importance of convenience and reliability – that’s why our aluminum staircases are designed for commercial and industrial use! So why take any chances when you can contact our experts now for top-of-the-line aluminum ramps? You can rest assured knowing your installation will be on point and within code.

    Industrial metal stairs

    Upside Innovations: Then and Now

    When sitting in the first iteration of Upside Innovations’ facility, founder Kevin Sharp used to look out the window of the 1,900 ft2 garage/office and stare at the semis loading and unloading at the large manufacturing facility across the street.  It felt so far out of reach when trying to build a company as the economy was still in the middle of the Great Recession.  Fast forward eight years, and Upside Innovations is in its fourth facility (not including Kevin’s house) and is tearing down walls to increase the manufacturing and office space by another 50%.

    Upside Innovations has experienced remarkable growth since the business was formed in 2009. After completing the company’s first project – a large canopy project in Indianapolis – Sean Faller joined the company along with one salesperson.  The original concept for the company was that Upside would outsource all production to fabricators in Cincinnati who had excess capacity due to the recession. After outsourcing production for the first few jobs, Upside made a change to its strategy and decided to begin manufacturing in-house. Kevin says, “We just weren’t having success meeting the quality and delivery standards that we were demanding for our customers.

    Sean Faller recalls when they were outsourcing production and how he and Kevin had to constantly pick up and drop off material and parts to various companies for welding. Sean says, “I had bought a car, and I had considered buying a pick-up truck. I don’t know how many times I kicked myself for not buying a pick-up instead because I was constantly putting my seats down in the back of my car because it was cheaper for me to do it than to rent a truck or a service.”

    That first location in the Oakley neighborhood of Cincinnati had a small office and a garage where they could start cutting, drilling and welding. The desks in the office were made from old table tops that were stacked on cinder blocks for legs…a real minimalist look! The first two production employees to join the team were Ben Doan (machining) and Jeff Sander (welding).  The garage was so small that they had to prop open the man door while cutting aluminum extrusions so the extrusions could stick through the doorway.

    First office in Oakley neighborhood
    First office in Oakley neighborhood

    Like many people working for small companies, Sean and Kevin wore many different hats including the “Lead Installer” hats. When they weren’t driving around Cincinnati trying to have various pieces welded together, they were at job sites installing each final product. The president and engineer both got their hands dirty! After a year of producing in a confined area and working in a small office, Upside’s operations outgrew the space.

    The next office location was in an unoccupied area of a warehouse which was owned by a batting cage company in the Tri-County area north of Cincinnati. It was a 6,000 ft2 space with a few small offices that rented for $1,000/month. Kevin says, “The weird thing about this place was that we had a batting cage in our shop that was used by the building owner on weekends. It wouldn’t be uncommon when we were busy and working on a Saturday to have a sports team come in and be hitting balls in the cage while we were welding 30 yards from the cage.” Sounds like quite a unique setup! It was during the stay in this location, that Amy Gogul joined the team to help run the accounting and operations.  Upside hired an additional 4 or 5 production employees, and from this location, it started to grow its reputation as the access company that was not afraid to tackle the industry’s most challenging projects.  There were two major projects that gave Upside a lot of confidence as a company.  The first was a project that Upside designed and installed in Norfolk, VA, that featured three second-story stair towers, a 75’ second-story walkway between two modular complexes, and a canopy.  The second was a large project for a school that had been destroyed by the Joplin tornado.  Luckily, the company was still “young and dumb” and didn’t say no to either of the projects.  These projects stretched the company’s resources and proved to the entire team that they could succeed at any access project presented to them.  After the entire batting cage plant was rented out to another company, Upside was in search of its third location and found the right spot in the Forest Park neighborhood of Cincinnati.

    The Forest Park location was similar in size to the previous location, but Upside had the space to itself and never had to worry about weld flash injuries for pony league baseball teams. This is where the company really started gaining ground and taking on large-scale projects. Even though Upside was making great strides, Kevin recalls, “It still felt like we were ‘playing company’ as the facility was pretty small and the office was not finished out too well.” Amy Gogul says, “The Forest Park location only had one unisex bathroom for everyone to use. It was fun!” There wasn’t any extra money floating around for a cleaning service, so the team had to pitch in to help clean every Friday; mopping the floors, taking out the trash, and cleaning the bathroom were all part of the weekly chores. A few more employees joined the company at this location to keep up with operations: Bill Carroll, MJ Al Jawa, Danny Cornish, Jesse O’Neill, Jim Wendling, and Billy Lippert. Billy, the last to join the company at this location, had a card table for a desk that was in the corner of Kevin’s office. The employees soon outgrew this space as well, so they moved to the current office location on Spellmire Drive in West Chester, OH.

    The new 23,000 ft2 location was the first office and shop that felt “real” because Upside’s employees prepared most of the space themselves. They tore down a few walls to make a more useful workspace with modular wheelchair ramps. They then painted the walls and put an “Upside orange” stripe at the top. They ripped up the carpet because the aluminum chips from the shop would not be easy to clean up from the carpet fibers. After the carpet was removed, the team used grinders to smooth the concrete floor that was underneath and coated them with a light gray concrete stain. Sticking to the core philosophy of providing solutions to customers’ most difficult projects, Upside more than tripled its sales volume in the three years at the new location.  With the increase in business and products like adjustable metal stairs for modular offices, Upside has been able to hire many more excellent and talented employees to continue to fuel its growth, but the physical size of the facility has started to impede its progress.

    Current office in West Chester, Ohio

    Luckily, the tenant located in the unit next to Upside was looking to downsize into a smaller facility, and Upside can now take over additional space just next door.  The new space will be used to expand the machining and welding capacity and provide additional racking and space for finished goods ready to be installed.

    Rooftop Crossover Stairs Hero Image

    Construction Industry Outlook 2017

    Many sectors make up the construction industry, and analyzing all of them can be time-consuming and overwhelming. To help you have a better overall view of the industry, we have collected information about construction sector performance and expected growth opportunities.

    The construction industry dropped with the 2008 market crash but has seen remarkable growth in the years following. In 2016 however, the rate of growth appeared to have slowed but not stopped completely. Experts within the industry were concerned that 2016 was the start of a cyclical decline and that perhaps the construction expansion may have run its course.  This idea was dismissed after realizing that 2015 had unusually elevated activity on which the 2016 analysis was based. So 2016, in comparison to 2015 year-to-date, seemed as if it was lagging. However, at the end of 2016, the year-to-date shortfall became smaller and smaller. Industry analyzers believe that construction spending will see moderate gains through 2017, and total construction starts will increase by approximately 5%. This is lower than the 2015 gains of 11% but higher than 2016’s close of approximately 1%. Along with this positive outlook, there is also anticipation that project management tools will be a norm in the future. 

    Single-family housing: will rise 12% in dollars, corresponding to a 9% increase in units to 795,000. The increase may be attributed to older-aged members of the millennial generation who are now buying single-family housing units.

    Multifamily housing: dollar amount will remain flat, corresponding to a 2% decrease in units to 435,000. This sector was extremely inflated in 2015 by exceptional amounts of activity in New York, but it has since declined to level ground.

    Commercial building: will increase by 6%, which is down from the 12% growth of 2016. Office and store construction are steadily working their way out of very low periods. Warehouse construction will continue to grow rapidly, which can be attributed to the increase in web-based sales that require distribution centers; logistics has become an art form. Hotel construction has remained strong over the past couple of years but may begin to retreat since the advancement of companies like Airbnb.

    Institutional building: will advance 10% after a period of no growth between 2015 and 2016. School construction will support this advancement through the recent passage of school construction bond measures. The construction of amusement facilities and transportation terminals will also play a role in the increase of institutional building construction.

    Manufacturing plants: will increase by 6% and recover from the extreme decline between 2015 and 2016, which reflected the pullback of large petrochemical plant construction starts. The new Trump administration has proposed to lower corporate taxes and encourage companies to bring their foreign profits home. This means that there will be more available funds for new capital projects in the US. Available funds would mean that these companies will be able to upgrade, like replacing wood with aluminum ramps.

    Public works: will increase by 6% after falling 3% in 2016. The new federal transportation bill will help increase the construction of highways and bridges, while the Water Resources Development Act will benefit environmental works. Gas and oil pipeline projects will remain steady.

    Electric utilities and gas plants: will fall a staggering 29% following a decline of 26% in 2016. New liquefied natural gas export terminals in Louisiana and Maryland increased construction in 2015 but have fizzled over the past year. Power plant construction will also fall as new generating capacity comes to life.

    DATA SOURCES: DODGE DATA & ANALYTICS OUTLOOK REPORT & CONSTRUCTCONNECT’S US CONSTRUCTION OUTLOOK 2017

    Our Services

    Our team designs, manufactures, ships, and installs ADA & IBC-compliant stairs, ramps and canopies to fit YOUR custom project. Our experts will work with you throughout the project to ensure your installation is correct to your specifications and code compliant.

    Design Version 2Next serviceManufacture V2 GraphicNext serviceShip Icon V2Next serviceInstall Version 2