News/Features Regulation Slips, trips and falls Fall prevention Injury prevention

OSHA proposes updates to handrail, stair rail requirements in Walking-Working Surfaces standard

OSHA logo

Washington — OSHA is seeking to update the handrail and stair rail system requirements in its standard on walking-working surfaces for general industry.

According to a notice of proposed rulemaking published in the May 20 Federal Register, the agency has received numerous questions about and requests for interpretation of the requirements, particularly in regard to when handrails are required on stairs as well as what the height requirements are for stair rail systems and for handrails on stairs. 

In November 2016, OSHA published its final rule on walking-working surfaces and personal protective equipment, which updated requirements for slip, trip and fall hazards.


The agency notes in a press release that the proposed rule “does not reopen for discussion any of the regulatory decisions made in the 2016 rulemaking,” adding that it “focuses solely on clarifying some of the requirements for handrails and stair rail systems finalized in 2016, and on providing flexibility in the transition to OSHA’s newer requirements.” 

Comments on the NPRM are due July 19.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)