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A guide to safety stair nosing

A stair nosing is a "projecting edge, as the part of the tread of a step extending beyond the riser or a projecting part of a buttress." As defined by the Construction Dictionary, a safety stair nosing is, "[a]n abrasive, nonslip stair nosing whose surface is flush with the tread against which it is placed." This article provides you with details about safety stair nosing.

By Marjorie Gilbert
A guide to safety stair nosing

OSHA regulations

Safety stair nosings are regulated by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and the International Building Code. Safety stair nosings are available at building supply stores or online.

Characteristics of safety stair nosings

According to OSHA, safety stair nosings must consist of a surface that is non-slip. These nosings are often constructed of aluminum that have a non-slip surface made from granules epoxied to the top. If the stairs are made from concrete, the nosing can end thee inches from either side of the tread. If the stairs are made from steel pans that are filled with concrete, then the stair nosings must extend from side to side.

If the stair treads consist of welded bars, then it is acceptable to have stairways without safety stair nosings. However, the edges of the stairs must be clearly marked in some manner, such as reflective or highly colourful tape, to make their presence easily seen. The other qualification with stairways consisting of welded bars is that they must have a serrated or non-slip surface.

International Building Code

According to the International Building Code, the safety stair nosings cannot extend beyond the stair tread more than 1.25 inches. Each of the stair nosings must be the same, ie consisting of the same curvature, including the very top stair of the stairwell. The curvature of the stair tread's leading edge cannot be more than 1/2 inch and the bevelling of the stair nosings cannot be more than 1/2 inch as well.

The underside of the nosing's angle must be at least 30 degrees from the vertical. The risers must be solid, or sloped at tan angle not more than 30 degrees from vertical. If the risers are not solid, they must be spaced in such a way to prevent the passage of an object more than four inches between them.

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