Adjustable Steps for Modular Offices

Adjustable Steps for Modular Offices

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Modular Office Accessibility with the Omni Step: The Ultimate OSHA-Compliant, Adjustable Stair System

Modular buildings and trailers are often used as temporary, portable offices on construction sites. Ground levels change from site to site, and it can be hard to find portable OSHA steps for modular buildings. Our Omni Step product is a fully adjustable stair system that is portable and can be reused as you move the trailer.

Adjustable Steps for Modular Offices

Upside Innovation’s Omni Step is a game-changer in portable stair solutions. It’s designed for modular buildings such as mobile office trailers through second-story modular office stairs

The Omni Step: A Flexible Access Solution

The Omni Step isn’t just another stair system; it’s a testament to innovative engineering, tailored to meet the fluctuating demands of construction sites. As ground levels vary from site to site, the challenge of finding portable, OSHA-compliant stairs for modular units and trailers is now straightforward.

Why Choose Omni Step?

  1. Unmatched Adjustability: The Omni Step excels in versatility. It can be precisely adjusted to any height within its specified range, maintaining equal riser heights for consistent safety. This feature starkly contrasts with other market options that offer adjustable bottom step treads, which often fall short of OSHA compliance.
  2. Lightweight Yet Robust: Crafted from high-grade aluminum, the Omni Step combines ease of transportation with durability. Its lightweight nature doesn’t compromise on strength, ensuring a long-lasting solution for your site.
  3. OSHA Compliance Made Easy: Our portable Omni Stairs aren’t just compliant with OSHA regulations; they set a new standard in safety. Whether you need stairs for a single-story modular office, a second-story unit, or a job site trailer, the Omni Step ensures you’re always up to code.
  4. Installation in a Snap: Time is a valuable asset on any site. That’s why we’ve engineered the Omni Step for quick and effortless installation and de-installation, typically achievable in under 10 minutes.
  5. Ease of Maintenance: Keeping your stair system in top condition shouldn’t be a chore. The Omni Step’s aluminum construction not only withstands the rigors of a construction site but is also incredibly easy to clean and maintain.

Available Sizes to Fit Your Needs

We understand that there are unique applications and needs in the world of modular offices. The Omni Step is available in a range of sizes to suit various requirements.

This range ensures that the Omni Step can seamlessly adapt to your elevation needs. View our OSHA step specifications.

Illustration of OMNI Step with Adjustable Legs and Pivoting Risers
With adjustable legs and pivoting risers, our portable stairs are adjustable up to ± 2’ for our two-story size.
Seven different OMNI Step portable stair options

Aluminum ADA-compliant Ramps for Modular Offices

In our commitment to making workplaces inclusive and accessible, we also offer modular aluminum wheelchair ramps. These ramps are durable, long-lasting, and designed to integrate seamlessly with your office, ensuring a welcoming environment for everyone.

Modular construction with multiple egress points

Ready to Transform Your Modular Office Accessibility?

At Upside Innovations, we’re dedicated to providing solutions that make a real difference. Whether it’s the versatile Omni Step or our robust wheelchair ramps, we’re here to enhance the safety and accessibility of your workspace. Contact us today to discover how our innovative products can elevate your modular office or construction trailer to the next level.

If you’ve been looking for wheelchair ramps to make your office more accessible, then look no further! Our highly durable aluminum wheelchair ramps are designed to last and save you time and money.

mezzanine access stairs

Maximizing Space with Innovative Mezzanine Floors

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Mezzanine floors have become a cornerstone in optimizing space in various industrial and commercial settings. At Upside Innovations, we understand the importance of maximizing floor space while maintaining functionality. This guide delves into the world of mezzanine floors, highlighting their versatility, types, and the crucial role of mezzanine stairs.

What is a Mezzanine Floor?

A mezzanine is an intermediate level between the floor and ceiling of any story, as defined by Section 505 of the International Building Code. The term originates from the Italian word ‘mezza’, meaning ‘half’ or ‘middle’. Mezzanine floors are an ingenious solution to increase usable space within a building without external expansion.

Uses for Mezzanine Floors

Mezzanine floors are a versatile and cost-effective solution for businesses experiencing growth and requiring additional space. These structures are ideal for maximizing existing space without the need for property expansion, offering a variety of applications tailored to a company’s specific needs.

Industrial Applications

Industrial mezzanine floors are constructed from heavy-duty materials like stainless or carbon steel, with flooring options including steel plating or concrete. These mezzanines serve multiple purposes beyond storage, such as added production and assembly areas, making them integral to industrial manufacturing environments.

Warehouse Utilization

In warehousing, mezzanine floors are essential for increasing storage capacity. They enable warehouses to expand inventory space without investing in additional buildings, providing flexibility for shelving adjustments, racking extensions, and efficient block stacking.

Modular Offices

Modular offices on mezzanine floors are a strategic solution for first-level management in industrial settings. These offices are conveniently located near production areas, allowing for easy communication and quick response to on-floor activities. Modular offices are assembled similarly to mezzanines and offer rapid construction and adaptability to changing needs.

Retail Spaces

Retail mezzanines are often incorporated into the initial design of retail spaces, especially in outlet stores where space requirements fluctuate. These mezzanines enhance the retail environment by providing additional display areas and can be disassembled when not in use.


For workshops, mezzanines provide crucial extra workspace and storage. They accommodate fluctuations in business activity, ensuring that craftsmen have adequate space for production and inventory management.

Automation Support

As automation becomes integral to manufacturing, mezzanines offer the necessary space for implementing these systems. Steel mezzanines, in particular, can support automation processes while keeping the ground floor unobstructed for regular operations.

Observation Decks

Mezzanines serve as excellent observation decks in industrial settings, providing a comprehensive view of operations. This elevated perspective is invaluable for process evaluation and quick decision-making.


Catwalks on mezzanine floors enhance facility efficiency and safety. They provide clear pathways for personnel, reducing ground-level traffic and improving overall workflow within a facility.

In summary, mezzanine floors are a multifaceted space optimization solution catering to various industrial, retail, and commercial needs. Their adaptability and cost-effectiveness make them an ideal choice for businesses looking to expand their usable space efficiently.

The Role of Stairs in Mezzanine Access

Stairs play a pivotal role in the functionality and safety of mezzanine floors. They provide essential access to these elevated spaces, ensuring smooth and efficient movement within a facility. The design, construction, and placement of stairs are crucial in maximizing the utility and safety of mezzanine floors.

Benefits of Quality Mezzanine Stairs

  1. Safe and Efficient Access: Well-designed stairs ensure safe and easy access to mezzanine floors, crucial for daily operations, especially in high-traffic environments.
  2. Compliance with Regulations: Stairs are designed to meet building codes and safety standards, such as the International Building Code (IBC), ensure compliance, and reduce liability risks.
  3. Space Optimization: Compact and ergonomically designed stairs can maximize space utilization, an essential factor in areas where floor space is at a premium.
  4. Enhanced Workflow: Properly positioned and designed stairs improve the flow of movement, contributing to a more efficient and productive work environment.

Upside Innovations is known for its commitment to providing superior access solutions, and our stairs for mezzanine access are no exception.

  1. Customized Solutions: We specialize in tailor-made stair solutions designed to meet the specific needs and configurations of each client’s mezzanine setup.
  2. Durability and Strength: Our stairs are constructed with high-quality materials, ensuring longevity and the ability to withstand heavy usage in industrial environments.
  3. Safety First Design: Safety is paramount in all our designs. Our stairs feature non-slip surfaces, sturdy handrails, and are built to exceed safety standards.
  4. Aesthetic Appeal: Alongside functionality, our stairs are designed with an aesthetic appeal that enhances the overall look of the workspace.
  5. Easy Installation: We provide easy installation stairs, minimizing downtime and disruption to your operations.
  6. Eco-Friendly Options: In line with our commitment to sustainability, we offer eco-friendly options that do not compromise quality or safety.
  7. Customer-Centric Service: Our team offers comprehensive support from design through installation, ensuring a seamless and satisfying customer experience.

In conclusion, the stairs for mezzanine access are more than just a functional necessity; they are critical in ensuring the safety, efficiency, and overall effectiveness of mezzanine floor usage. Upside Innovations stands at the forefront of providing stair solutions that are safe, durable, aesthetically pleasing, and tailored to meet each client’s unique needs.

What is the difference between a mezzanine and a loft?

A mezzanine is an intermediate floor within a building, while a loft is typically a space under the roof, often open to the floor below.

Are mezzanine floors safe?

Yes, when designed and installed correctly, following building codes and safety standards, mezzanine floors are safe and reliable.

Can mezzanine floors be customized?

Absolutely. Mezzanine floors can be tailored to specific needs, including materials, design, and size.

How do mezzanine stairs enhance safety?

Mezzanine stairs are designed to provide safe and efficient access to mezzanine floors, comply with building codes, and incorporate features like handrails and non-slip treads.

Custom Aluminum Solutions for UMD Ludwig Field Pressbox

As a specialist in crafting high-quality aluminum access solutions, Upside Innovations was thrilled to contribute to the UMD Ludwig Field Pressbox project in College Park, MD. Our expertise was pivotal in ensuring the new pressbox integrated flawlessly with the existing stadium infrastructure.

The Challenge

The University of Maryland sought to construct a new, permanent pressbox for Ludwig Field Stadium. This pressbox, comprising four separate rooms for various users, needed to adhere to strict architectural covenants of the university. The challenge was to make the pressbox appear as an integral part of the existing stadium structure, blending with the campus aesthetics.

Our Contribution

Upside Innovations provided:

  • Aluminum Steps: Designed to match the existing stadium steps, our aluminum steps offered durability and a consistent look.
  • Decks: Our aluminum decks ensured a seamless transition between the new pressbox and the existing stadium structure.
  • Railings: The railings, crafted from aluminum, were not only functional but also aesthetically in tune with the stadium’s existing rails.

These components were crucial in achieving a harmonious blend with the stadium’s brick facade, walkways, and existing bleachers.

The Solution

A cantilever foundation system supported the pressbox atop the existing stadium decking and seats with minimal disturbance. The strategic placement provided optimal field vision. Our aluminum steps, decks, and railings were integrated to give a flawless finish, complementing the pressbox’s unique rooftop design engineered for a substantial live load and media requirements, including a non-slip rooftop walking area and powder-coated handrails with an exterior ladder leading to the rooftop media area.


The UMD Ludwig Field Pressbox project is a testament to Upside Innovations’ ability to deliver custom aluminum solutions that are not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing. Our work on this project underscores our commitment to quality and precision in meeting the unique needs of our clients.

Navy Medical Fire House Stair

Custom Stair Solutions at Navy Medical Center Fire House in Bethesda

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As the manufacturer of specialized access solutions, Upside Innovations was able to contribute to the Navy Medical Center Fire House project in Bethesda, MD. This project posed unique challenges that required our engineering and design skills to provide practical and efficient stair solutions.

Client: Naval Support Activity Bethesda
Location: Bethesda, MD
Project: Navy Medical Center Fire House
Collaborator: Modular Genius
Category: Modular, Medical

The Challenge

The project at Naval Support Activity Bethesda aimed to rebuild its fire station while maintaining operational efficiency. It involved constructing a temporary structure on a challenging site with underground utility lines. The key was to ensure that the new temporary building, while being functional, also blended seamlessly with the building and area elevation.

At Upside Innovations, we provided:

  • 2-Story Stair Tower: This custom-designed aluminum stair tower facilitated safe and efficient access within the temporary fire station, reflecting our commitment to functional and durable design.
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  • Entryway Stair: Our additional entryway stair solution complemented the stair tower, enhancing the overall accessibility of the temporary structure.
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Our use of aluminum in these products ensured they were not only sturdy and reliable but also capable of withstanding the demanding conditions of the site.

The Solution

In line with our commitment to excellence, the temporary structure was equipped with sound insulation and high-standard MEP configurations. Our stair solutions were integral in achieving a quick and cost-effective renovation, ensuring the continuous operation of the fire station during this period.


This project at the Navy Medical Center Fire House in Bethesda is a prime example of how Upside Innovations can tailor its products to meet specific client needs. Our ability to design and manufacture stair solutions that address unique challenges underscores our expertise in this field.

Bus Terminal stair, ramp and canopy

Project Profile: Upside Innovations’ Access Solutions Enhance DC DGS Adams Place Bus Terminal

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Project Overview

Client: DC Department of General Services
Location: Washington, DC
Project: DC DGS Adams Place Bus Terminal
Collaborators: Modular Genius, Inc., Diamond Builders, Inc.

The Challenge

The Washington DC Department of General Services required a relocatable building for DC Public Schools to serve as a school bus dispatch, breakroom, and assembly space for drivers. The existing facility was outdated, necessitating a new structure on an adjacent parcel of land. The project demanded a design that would integrate seamlessly with the existing architectural landscape and provide effective accessibility solutions.

Upside Innovations’ Contribution

Upside Innovations partnered in this project by providing essential access components:

  • Two Entryway Canopies: These structures were designed to offer shelter and enhance the aesthetic appeal of the building’s entrances.
    Learn more
  • ADA-Compliant Entry Access Stairs: Installed at both entrances, these stairs ensured compliance with accessibility standards, offering safe and convenient access.
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  • ADA Wheelchair Access Ramp: This feature was critical in ensuring the building was accessible to all individuals, aligning with ADA guidelines.
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The pre-fabricated nature of Upside Innovations’ products was a significant factor in meeting the project’s tight timeline and budget constraints. The ease of installation and compliance with state and local accessibility guidelines were key in the seamless coordination of inspection activities.

The Solution

The modular building, by Modular Genius, Inc., was set up efficiently over two days. Upside Innovations’ prefabricated access systems played a pivotal role in the project’s success, aligning with the need for a flexible and relocatable solution. This adaptability is especially crucial for the ever-changing landscape of the bus terminal facility.


The collaboration on the DC DGS Adams Place Bus Terminal project is a testament to Upside Innovations’ ability to deliver high-quality, compliant, and aesthetically pleasing access solutions. The project not only met but exceeded expectations in functionality, speed to occupancy, and adherence to budgetary and regulatory requirements.

View full case study by Modular Genius

Optimal Stair Angle: Balancing Safety, Comfort, and Space

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A critical aspect of stair design is the angle of the stair, which can significantly influence its functionality, safety, and user experience. This is especially applicable in commercial settings, where factors like accessibility and space efficiency are paramount.

The angle of a staircase, often measured in degrees from the horizontal, determines the steepness of the stairs. Common angles range from 30 to 50 degrees. However, a widely accepted standard for the most comfortable and safe stair angle is around 37 degrees.

37° is widely accepted as
the standard for safety and comfort

Why 37 Degrees?

  1. Ergonomic Efficiency: At 37 degrees, the ratio of the tread (the horizontal part where you step) to the riser (the vertical part between treads) is optimized for average human stride lengths. This angle ensures that the stairs are not too steep or too shallow, providing a natural and comfortable ascent and descent.
  2. Safety Considerations: Stairs steeper than 37 degrees can increase the risk of falls and are more challenging for people with mobility issues. On the other hand, stairs less steep than 37 degrees consume more horizontal space and may not be practical in all settings.
  3. Space Utilization: For commercial spaces where efficiency is key, a 37-degree angle offers a good balance between the vertical and horizontal space used. It allows for a comfortable rise without extending the staircase too far into the space.

Code Compliance

IBC – The International Building Code (IBC) typically requires stair slopes to not exceed a 7:11 ratio, approximately 37 degrees, with a maximum riser height of 7 inches and a minimum tread depth of 11 inches. These guidelines ensure safety by preventing stairs from being too steep and maintaining consistency in step dimensions.

ADA – Similar to IBC, the ADA requires stairs to have risers no higher than 7 inches and tread depths of at least 11 inches, ensuring a slope that typically aligns with IBC standards of around 30 to 37 degrees. Uniformity in riser heights and tread depths across all steps is crucial for safety and accessibility under ADA guidelines.

OSHAOSHA standards for fixed industrial stairs require an angle between 30 and 50 degrees to ensure safety in workplace environments. The maximum riser height is set at 9.5 inches, and the minimum tread depth should also be 9.5 inches. These guidelines are designed to prevent accidents and facilitate safe and efficient movement in industrial settings.


While the 37-degree angle is a general guideline, stair design can vary depending on each project’s specific needs and constraints. Upside Innovations, with its commitment to safety, efficiency, and sustainability, ensures that each staircase is optimally designed for its intended use, keeping in mind the comfort and safety of its users.

mezzanine access stairs

In-Plant, Modular Office Stairs

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In-plant offices are becoming more popular because the modular building industry is growing, and it is becoming easier and cheaper to access modular, in-plant offices. Stacking the modular offices on top of each other is expected to save floor space, so a set of OSHA-compliant steps is required for the upper level. What material do most people use?

It is expected to use either aluminum or steel steps because they typically last longer than wood and are quicker to assemble. People used steel more often than aluminum in the past because aluminum was more expensive. Steel and aluminum are both in the same price range, so more people are choosing aluminum over steel. Aluminum is becoming the more popular choice for three reasons:

1. Lightweight. Aluminum is typically 1/3 the weight of steel. An adjustable aluminum staircase (shown below) weighs approximately 650 lbs. including the platform. The alternative product made out of steel weighs nearly 2,000 lbs., making it a much more difficult product to handle.

2. Easily installed. Since aluminum is so much lighter than steel, assembling the aluminum staircase takes less time and effort. To install heavy, second-story steps made out of steel, people usually rent special equipment to help move the product, increasing the overall installation cost.

3. Corrosion resistant. If the indoor environment is ever exposed to water or experiences humidity, an aluminum staircase will last longer than a steel staircase because aluminum does not rust. Steel can be galvanized, which protects the material from rusting. However, the material can rust if the protective layer is scratched or damaged.

Standard, OSHA-Compliant Staircase:

OSHA-compliant, second-story staircase for in-plant, modular offices. It has heavy-duty stringers and optional cross-bracing for added strength, making this style perfect for permanent applications. This product is made-to-order and must have exact threshold measurements to fit the application.

More on in plant mezzanine stairs

In-plant office stairs

Adjustable OMNI, OHSA-Compliant Staircase:


OSHA-compliant, second-story staircase for in-plant, modular offices. This adjustable staircase can work for any threshold height between 8.5′ and 10.5′. It weighs less than the OSHA step featured above, so the Omni step is the right choice if the offices are not in a permanent location

More on OMNI Step

Adjustable stairs for in-plant offices

Mezzanine Solutions for In-Plant Offices

Expanding Vertical Space with Mezzanines: Maximizing space is crucial in today’s dynamic industrial and commercial environments. Mezzanines offer an innovative solution to utilize vertical space effectively, especially in conjunction with in-plant offices. Adding a mezzanine level allows businesses to significantly increase their operational area without requiring extensive renovations or relocation.

Mezzanine Applications: Mezzanines are versatile and can be tailored for various uses, including additional storage, expanded production areas, or creating elevated office spaces. This flexibility makes them an ideal choice for industries ranging from manufacturing to retail, where space optimization is key.

Integration with In-Plant Offices: Upside Innovations integrates mezzanine floors with modular in-plant offices. Our approach ensures that the additional space created by the mezzanine is accessible and functional.

Stair Solutions for Mezzanine Access: Access to mezzanine levels is a critical aspect of their functionality. Upside Innovations offers a range of stair solutions, including standard OSHA-compliant staircases and adjustable Omni stairs, to ensure safe and convenient access to mezzanine levels. Our staircases are designed to be compatible with various mezzanine heights and configurations, providing a cohesive and efficient solution for vertical expansion.

Material Choices for Durability and Efficiency: We understand the importance of material selection in staircase construction. Our aluminum and steel stair options offer durability, ease of installation, and corrosion resistance, ensuring long-term functionality and safety. Whether you opt for the lightweight and adaptable aluminum stairs or the robust and permanent steel options, our products are designed to meet the specific needs of your mezzanine and in-plant office setup.

Customization and Compliance: Every mezzanine project has unique requirements. We offer customized solutions that adhere to OSHA standards, ensuring that your mezzanine and stair setup is efficient and compliant with safety regulations. Our team works closely with you to understand your needs and deliver a solution that enhances operational efficiency and safety.

modular office stairwell and canopy

Applications in Modular Construction: A Look into Upside Innovations’ Modular Stairwell and Canopy Installations

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Upside Innovations is at the forefront of reshaping temporary workspace infrastructure. With our prefabricated, modular stairwells and canopies, we offer solutions that prioritize functionality, durability, and safety. In this article, we highlight the features and benefits of Upside’s products.

modular office stairwell and canopy
Showcasing the union of efficiency, versatility, and sustainability, this photo captures Upside Innovations’ installation of a modular aluminum stairwell and weather-resistant canopy for a temporary two-story office, featuring elements that are as easy to assemble as they are to reconfigure and designed to be compliant with ADA, IBC, and OSHA standards.

Modular construction (What is modular construction?), a method involving the assembly of complete rooms or sections manufactured off-site, has become a prominent choice for erecting temporary and permanent structures. Rising in popularity for commercial, industrial, and institutional projects, the modular market was valued at $131.1 billion in 2021, with analysts projecting a $234.7 billion value by 2031​​. This construction method reduces on-site construction time and costs, making it especially beneficial for larger buildings​​.

Upside Innovations provides the ideal solution for modular construction with its APEX System. This prefabricated line of ADA, OSHA, and IBC-compliant stairs, ramps, and canopies comprise industrial-grade aluminum components that bolt together, creating endless configurations​. This innovative system eliminates the need for custom fabrication and extensive engineering, thus reducing costs, installation time, and complexity.

One of the key features of the APEX System is its reconfigurability, which allows for the ramps, stairs, and railings to be reused or reconfigured as needs change, making it a versatile choice for modular buildings such as schools, hospitals, churches, office trailers, and construction sites​.

Our aluminum canopies and awnings are long-lasting and low-maintenance, never rusting, and promising a long product lifecycle​. Our canopies have an internal drainage system to divert water from walkways, ensuring a safe, slip-free environment​. our weather-resistant aluminum products can be reconfigured to adapt to changing applications, ensuring the industry’s longest service life​​.

Modular Stairwells: Embodying Efficiency and Compliance

The APEX System, Upside’s line of modular aluminum stairwells, is a testament to the power of intelligent design. These stairwells are ADA, IBC, and OSHA-compliant, ensuring they meet the highest standards of safety and accessibility. Furthermore, they are infinitely configurable to suit any application, making them a versatile choice for a wide variety of projects​.

Constructed from lightweight, industrial-grade aluminum components, these stairwells are designed for easy assembly and reconfiguration. This flexibility reduces costs, installation time, and complexity, all while ensuring the stairwell is code compliant and aligned with the project’s specifications​.

Canopies: Prioritizing Durability and Safety

Upside’s prefabricated aluminum canopies are engineered for long-term use and adaptability. They provide reliable protection from the elements and are designed to ensure the industry’s longest service life, making them a practical choice for temporary workspaces​.

These canopies feature an internal gutter and drainage system designed to divert water away from walkways, maintaining a dry and safe environment beneath. Their modular design allows for easy reconfiguration or reuse, providing an adaptable solution for evolving project requirements​.

Installation Examples

Commitment to Sustainability

Upside Innovations’ commitment to sustainability is evident in their product designs. The prefabricated systems are made with 6061 and 6063 aluminum alloys, which contain a significant proportion of recycled content. This not only enhances the durability and versatility of their products but also aligns with green building principles, contributing to several LEED v4.1 credits and other green building rating systems​.


Upside Innovations provides robust solutions for temporary workspace infrastructures, from adaptable stairwells to durable canopies. Their expert team ensures seamless installation, custom fitting, and code compliance, ensuring each project runs smoothly from start to finish​. As demand for temporary workspaces continues to rise, Upside’s modular, prefabricated structures are leading the way in providing efficient and sustainable solutions.

Long crossover walkway and stairs

How a Catwalk Can Improve Workflow in Your Facility

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In a factory setting, the equipment can be difficult to access, leading to dangerous and/or uncomfortable working conditions. Catwalks can be a necessary solution to this problem and OSHA compliance.

What is a catwalk

A catwalk, sometimes called a runway, is an elevated platform or walkway used for observation or to give workers access to hard-to-reach areas within a facility to service equipment, tanks, hoppers, silos, sortation systems, and industrial processing equipment.

Upside Innovations is a stair manufacturer, and this article covers some applications and summarizes OSHA compliance requirements.

Common Catwalk Applications

  • HVAC & generator maintenance platforms
  • Accessing and clearing conveyor belts and sortation systems
  • An observation platform overseeing work areas
  • Rooftops – Air handlers, HVAC equipment, and generators
  • To crossover assembly lines and conveyor belts
  • Tank farm access

Upside Innovation’s Catwalks

Upside manufacturers prefabricated, easy-to-assemble OSHA complaint catwalk platforms.

Upside’s catwalk platform doesn’t just elevate people–it saves money and time. The industrial-grade aluminum components can be bolted together in an endless amount of configurations, making it ready to install upon arrival. With our APEX catwalk system, you’ll reduce costs while also saving time that would otherwise be spent welding the walkway together. If pre-assembled catwalks are not possible for your application, don’t worry! Our team of engineers and designers can customize a solution for any need.

At Upside, we believe that every business is unique and thus requires a different catwalk solution. That’s why we take the time to listen to your specific needs and requirements before craftily designing a plan specifically for you. Our team of experts creates structural drawings of where your catwalk has to be installed, making sure to include all details regarding positioning, elevation, etc., in alignment with your stated business goals. This level of planning and customization helps ensure that you get exactly the right catwalk for YOUR business.

Furthermore, we evaluate how much weight your catwalk can hold. The construction of your catwalk is entirely dependent on its planned use. Therefore, we need to know the load-bearing capacity requirements to design and build a safe walkway for your employees.

Our aluminum catwalks are easy to install in difficult-to-reach spaces and follow OSHA standards so that your workers can safely access elevated areas.

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Steps and APEX Trailer Catwalk at Industrial Facility
These Steps and long APEX Trailer Catwalk Platform were installed at an Industrial Facility.

OSHA catwalk requirements

OSHA compliance stairs platforms

OSHA establishes rules and regulations to follow for equipment operators and maintenance personnel who work on catwalks, which include the minimum width dimensions, minimum load requirements, fall protection requirements, and catwalk opening requirements. Understanding these standards can help create a safe working environment.

The safety requirements for catwalks, or elevated walkways, are located in Section 1910 Subpart D of the OSHA standards. A catwalk is an elevated surface used as a pathway between buildings or along shafting. It’s also considered a type of work platform. employers need to make sure that catwalks are constantly kept safe and up to code.

OSHA Section 1910.22 dictates the primary conditions for walking-working surfaces, encompassing catwalks. To be compliant, employers must guarantee that all walking surfaces are safe from slip and fall hazards, as well as being structurally stable and sound. With that in mind, here are some key standards for workplaces with elevated working conditions:

  • Walking/working surfaces are kept in a clean, orderly, and sanitary condition. (1910.22(a)(1))
  • Free of hazards such as sharp or protruding objects, loose boards, corrosion, leaks, spills, snow, and ice. (1910.22(a)(3))
  • Walking-working surface can support the maximum intended load for that surface. (1910.22(b))
  • Employees must have safe means of access and egress to and from walking-working surfaces. (1910.22(c))
  • Walking-working surfaces are inspected regularly to ensure safe conditions (1910.22(d)(1))

Catwalk width requirements

A catwalk or runway must be at least 18 inches wide (Section 1910.28(b)(5)(ii)(A)). When a stairway accesses the catwalk, catwalk width depends on the width of the stairway and stairway landing that serves it. Under OSHA Section 1910.25(b)(4) a stairway landing must be at least the width of the stairway, which has a minimum width of 22″, so catwalks served by a stairway must have a minimum width of 22″ for OSHA compliance.

How wide does a catwalk need to be?

A catwalk or runway must be at least 18 inches wide (OSHA Section 1910.28(b)(5)(ii)(A))

Similarly, IBC-compliant stairs have a minimum width of 36″; therefore, catwalks should be minimum of 36″ wide. Some bigger catwalks might actually be classified as mezzanine structures and would, as a result, need to adhere to the IBC mezzanine egress requirements.

Catwalk load requirements

The maximum intended load is the total weight and force of all employees, equipment, vehicles, tools, materials, and other loads that an employer reasonably anticipates will be applied to a walking-working surface at any one time (section 1910.22(b) Loads)

For guardrail systems around a catwalk requires that handrails and the top rails are capable of withstanding, without failure, a force of at least 200 pounds (890 N) applied in any downward or outward direction within 2 inches (5 cm) of any point along the top edge of the rail. (section 1910.29(f)(7) Strength criteria)

Catwalk opening requirements

Catwalks may have floor holes within the walking surface or vertical openings near the edge of the walking surface. A fall protection system must protect these holes and openings to prevent employees from falling. (section 1910.28)

Hole – Opening or gap in the walking surface.

Examples include drains, large cracks, broken floorboards, chutes, and pits that are at least 2 inches.

OSHA section 1910.28(b)(7) states that where the inside bottom edge of the opening is less than 39 inches above the walking-working surface and the outside bottom edge of the opening is 4 feet or more above a lower level is protected from falling by the use of a guardrail system, safety net system, travel restraining system, or personal fall arrest system. 

Opening – Opening or gap in a wall, partition, or railing.

Examples include openings to access equipment, chute openings, and window openings that are at least 30 inches high and at least 18 inches wide.

OSHA requires that employers provide a means of fall protection around floor holes in a catwalk or other walking surfaces.


Install an industrial catwalk to make your work areas more efficient by providing employees with easy access to equipment and maintenance areas. Catwalks come in many designs, so it is important to consider all variables before purchasing.

Upside Innovation’s APEX catwalk solutions are prefabricated, meaning they are ready to install immediately. The industrial-grade aluminum components bolt together, amounting to never-ending configurations. Contact our qualified stair and platform experts to reduce costs and eliminate time-consuming welding with our APEX catwalk systems. How a Catwalk Can Improve Workflow in Your Factory

Rooftop Stairs – Non-Penetrating Roof Mounted Solutions

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Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Roof-top equipment requires ongoing maintenance to keep work environments safe. Workers accessing roof-tops to maintain equipment frequently meet accessibility challenges and obstacles such as pipes, skylights, ducts, and parapets, not to mention abundant trip and fall hazards. For rooftop accessibility and the ability to safely crossover over obstacles over 12″ height, an OSHA-compliant fixed non-penetrating rooftop stair or work platform is required.

When adding stair accessibility to roof-tops, a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) is required to ensure all conditions and contingencies are considered in the design, which includes not voiding any roof warranties and meeting International Building Code (IBC), OSHA, and any additional local compliance requirements. An engineer will ensure that structural considerations such as weight distribution, ongoing wear (e.g., wind displacement), and long-term maintenance are factored in. Cutting corners to get the job done should never be considered. Not only can this be costly, but certified contractors and installers are always recommended. For example, a leak in a multi-story office building due to an improperly mounted stair unit and mechanical equipment will never be worth the perceived savings of getting the job done quickly by less capable installers.

Rooftop Crossover Stairs Hero Image

Most commercial roofs are TPO Membrane or Built-Up Roof Membrane (BUR). All roof-top stair installations should use non-penetrating mounting solutions to be effective. Roof curbs and equipment rails (see below for more info) are raised structural elements located under the roof membrane and installed when the roof is installed or redone. If your roof-top project requires these solutions, adding them can be costly and time-consuming. For lighter equipment, such as stairs, a less expensive base plate is needed to be safe and effective.

What is a TPO Membrane Roof?

TPO is a one-ply thermoplastic polyolefin membrane with a reinforcing scrim layer used on roofs to protect commercial and residential buildings from the elements. TPO Membrane Roof install

Tar & Gravel or Built-Up Roof (BUR)

BUR is typically 3 to 5 layers of roofing felt and bitumen laminated with hot tar and topped with a layer of aggregate.BUR Installation

Ideal for roof-top solutions

Because Upside’s rooftop access stairs are modular and made from lightweight, high-quality aluminum, no lift or crane is required for installation, and each component can be carried up to the roof. They are designed to meet your specifications, including code-compliancy.

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Common non-penetrating base plate installation options

If a curb isn’t possible when mounting roof-top stairs, a metal base plate solution is an easy and cost-effective alternative. In standard non-penetrating installations, the stair is anchored with countersunk bolts to a flat metal plate. The flat plate is rigid enough to distribute the weight over a wide surface area to prevent damage from point load and leaks. A thick neoprene pad is glued between the metal base plate and the roof, protecting the roof from the abrasive metal. Often the neoprene pad floats on the roof surface. Local codes may require the stair unit to be anchored to the roof.

  • Stair base plate on non-penetrating isolator pads helps mitigate leaks 
  • Flexible enough to be moved or adjusted. This includes leveling the roof-top stair.
  • Weight distribution–distribute the load (point load) over a bigger area to prevent the stair weight from creating depressions that create pooling or ponding of water. It also protects the unit from penetrating the roof surface or creating structural damage.
    • With styrofoam-insulated roofs, weight distribution is especially important.
    • When a roof heats up, it can become soft and create depression.
  • Using neoprene pads or vibration isolator pads between the flat plate and roof surface prevents abrasion from movement or wind, causing wear through the roof membrane.
  • Base plates or mounts raise stairs out of standing water after rain/snow.
  • Base plates are easier and less expensive to install.
Vibration and Movement damage from non-penetrating support

Common reasons for rooftop stair, catwalk, or crossover installations

  • To be OSHA compliant, obstacles such as pipes, ducts, or walls over 12” that workers must cross over during ongoing maintenance, require a crossover stair or a catwalk system.
  • A permanent roof-top stair or ladder is required to access the roof or crossover a parapet or wall.
  • Safe access to solar panels, roof-top units, and mechanical equipment 
  • Stair crossovers over skylights
  • Safe access to work platforms for HVAC maintenance
  • Filter changes and maintenance for air handlers and evaporator coils
  • Roof-top access for the maintenance of power vents and roof centrifugal exhaust system

Curbs or equipment rails.

What is a curb or equipment rail?

A roof-top curb is used to mount mechanical units (such as air conditioning or exhaust fans), stairs, stair crossovers, or skylights on a roof.

A curb used on commercial roofs is typically a raised structural element made from wood or concrete located under the roof membrane. Flashing and a cant strip are used to transition from the roof to the curb. Flashing is usually a thin piece of galvanized steel used where the roof plane meets a vertical surface, the curb in this instance. A cant strip creates a smooth transition from the roof deck to the curb.

Rooftop Curb or Rail – A structural element under the roof membrane the unit is mounted to.

Because the curb is raised under the roof membrane, stairs and mechanical equipment can be anchored directly to the curb. Similar to curbs, equipment rails are long structural galvanized steel units designed to mount roof-top equipment, pipe roller supports, and duct pedestals, which do not penetrate the roof and are anchored using treated wood.

Common Rooftop Stair Configurations

Rooftop Stair Compliance

In addition to OSHA and IBC compliances, occasionally, additional codes must be followed to meet local industry compliance standards. In these cases, an engineer experienced with roof-top installations must be consulted. Aside from worker safety and building codes, wind events and seismic activity often need to be factored in when designing safe and effective solutions.


Workers maintaining roof-top equipment at heights of 6 feet or more require access to stair platforms or conventional fall protection such as guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems. §1926.501(b)(1)

OSHA requires a crossover stair for obstacles over 12″

IMC-2003 306.5 Equipment and appliances on roofs or elevated structures.

Summary of IBC codes for stairs 

  • A permanent stair access solution is required for equipment and appliances installed on a roof that exceeds 16’ in height.
  • Roof obstacles and obstructions over 30″ high require a permanent method of access, such as a crossover stair.
  • A roof with a slope of 33% slope or greater requires a permanent stair solution.
  • Permanent ladders and stairs installed to or on a roof shall comply with the following minimum design criteria:
    • The side railing shall extend above the parapet or roof edge at least 30”.
    • The space between the ladder rung should not exceed 18”.
    • Ladders must have at least 6” of toe space.
    • 18” minimum spacing between rails
    • Ladder rungs must be no less than 0.75” in diameter and capable of withstanding a load of 300 lbs.
    • Ladders over 30’ in height need a landing rate to withstand 100 lbs. per sq. ft.
    • Ladders must be corrosion-resistant.
  • Roof-top catwalks need to be as least 24” wide and require railings.

Considerations for severe winds and seismic activity

Roof-top stairs and equipment must be engineered and mounted to withstand the forces of nature, such as high winds and seismic activity. Anchoring is required to secure the curb to the roof and the roof-top air-handling equipment or stairs to the curb. To meet certain local code compliances, a spring isolation system may be required. An engineer will need to evaluate your application and recommend the appropriate solution that meets the requirements of your project’s applicable building codes. Compliance verification and calculations can be provided and are performed by a licensed professional engineer for the seismic zone in which they are to be installed.

Stair Tread Depth vs. Stair Riser Height illustration

Safety with Every Step: Stair Tread Depth vs. Stair Riser Height

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Rise and Run for Stairs

Following building codes specific to stairs is essential in any new construction or remodeling project to ensure safety for everyone. This article outlines stair code requirements to make it easy for builders to meet relevant regulations and safety standards.

Building Codes for Stair Tread Depth

The depth of a stair tread is the horizontal distance from the vertical planes of the foremost projection to adjacent stair treads, as seen from a 90-degree angle to the leading edge of a tread. It measures the available surface area for a person’s foot to rest when ascending or descending the stairway.

Stair Tread Depth vs. Stair Riser Height illustration
ComplianceStair DepthRiser Height
OSHA9.5″ (240 mm)
9.5″ (240 mm)
IBC11″ (279 mm)
4″ (102 mm) – 7″ (178 mm)
Minimum – Maximum
IBC Occupancy Exceptions
Group R-2, R-3, and U
(see chart below)
10″ (254 mm)
7-3/4″ (197 mm)
Occupancy ClassificationGroup
Residential transient – occupancies containing sleeping units where the occupants are primarily transient. Structures like hotels, motels, and boarding housesR-1
Residential permanent – occupancies containing sleeping units or more than two dwelling units where the occupants are primarily permanentR-2
Residential group – occupancies where the occupants are primarily permanent and not classified as Group R-1, R-2R-3
Utility and Miscellaneous – General Buildings and structures of an accessory character and miscellaneous structures not classified in any specific occupancy shall be constructed, equipped, and maintained to conform to the requirements of this code commensurate with the fire and life hazard incidental to their occupancy.U

Standard Stair Tread Depth

The Industrial Building Code (IBC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have varying tread depth specifications for various stair types. In its 2017 revision to the required walking-working surfaces, OSHA added minimum tread depths. On the other hand, IBC has long mandated a minimum tread depth.

OSHA and IBC use research on stairways with varying tread and riser dimensions to determine the minimum tread depths and maximum riser heights.

According to OSHA, a standard stair refers to any fixed or permanent stairway aside from alternating tread stairs, ship stairs, or spiral stairs. Standard stairs must, at minimum, maintain a tread depth of 9.5 inches, or 24 cm, under OSHA 1910.25(c)(3).

IBC 1011.5.2, on the other hand, stipulates that stair treads must be at least 11 inches (27.94 cm) deep, measured horizontally between the vertical planes of the foremost projection of consecutive treads and perpendicular to the leading edge of the treads.

The minimum tread depth must be 10 inches in all group R-3 occupancies, all dwelling units in R-2 occupancies, and all group U occupancies supplementary to either group R-3 occupancies or individual dwelling units in R-2 occupancies. Most multi-family dwellings intended to get occupied permanently must adhere to the standard of a minimum tread depth of 10 inches (25.4 cm).

Building Codes for Stair Riser Height

The upright (vertical) or inclined element of a stair that gets positioned at the rear of a stair tread or platform and links near the front edge of the next higher tread, platform, or landing is referred to as the stair riser height.

Standard Stair Riser Height

Depending on the type of stairway, OSHA and IBC also have varying maximum stair riser height regulations.

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Standard stairs must have a maximum riser height of 9.5 inches (24 cm) following OSHA 1910.25(c)(2). IBC 1011.5.2 stipulates that the minimum and maximum stair riser heights must be 4 inches (10.16 cm) and 7 inches (17.78 cm), respectively.

In groups R-3, R-2, and U auxiliary occupancies, the maximum riser height is 7-3/4 inches.


The purpose of building codes for metal stairs is to ensure the safety of everyone who uses them. Any safety risk will significantly decrease if all steps and stairs have the same tread depth and riser height parameters.

For more than 13 years, Upside Innovations has been creating modular metal stairs and platforms. When it comes to design and innovation for a variety of prefabricated metal stair kits as well as custom solutions, Upside Innovations is unmatched in the industry.

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Upside Podcast – How to Prepare for a Successful Modular Stair & Ramp Installation

If there’s one thing we know for sure, things change fast in the modular construction industry. Last-minute design changes and a long list of variables over which we have very little control can impact the budget and timeline for your modular installation project, and our integrated Apex System was designed to make adapting on the fly easy and affordable.

In this episode of the Upside Podcast, Upside’s Billy Lippert and Eli Boyd discuss how the Apex System makes wheelchair ramp and metal stair installations straightforward and successful. Topics covered include project estimates, proper budgeting, leg anchors, stacked designs, installing surfaces, proper measuring techniques, anticipating common variables, assessing site conditions, ADA ramp heights, last-minute site changes, passing inspection, and making sure the material matches the specifications for your project. Modular industry challenges are common, but our Apex system ensures the product delivered is well matched to the final design.

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.

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