mobile access steps for the workplace
Access to heights using mobile access steps and equipment
Notes for guidance: provision and use of mobile access steps
for safe access to heights.
When accessing shelving, storage or equipment at a height
greater than the normal standing eye height of the operator,
suitable height access equipment should be made available and
Mobile access safety steps
When mobile access steps are provided, they should be of
sufficient strength, height and stability for the intended task
Height of steps
The height of mobile access safety steps should bring the
working height of the accessed position to be level with or
below the operator’s normal standing eye height; ie. No further
stretching or lifting should be required.
Hand rail support
The use of single or two step equipment ‘may’ be used without
further hand rail support, but is always preferable to supply
and use equipment with at least a grab rail to one side; better
is a rail on both sides, so that right and left handed operators
have equal facilities.
Mobile access steps with more than two rises should have hand
rails to both sides and a cross rail between the side rails on
the top platform. The only exception being when the steps are to
be used beside solid racking that can provide the hand support
to one side.
All castors or wheels on mobile access safety steps should be
well maintained and kept free of dirt and debris.
Mechanisms for retraction of wheels and castors must be kept in
good operating condition to ensure firm positive floor contact
by the main step structure, with no possibility of movement
while in use.
Mobility MUST be PREVENTED when the equipment is in use, either
by way of sprung-loaded castors for small to medium sizes steps
(up to 5 rises) or mechanical leverage to raise wheels or
castors from the floor on larger steps (more than 5 rises).
Suitable tread materials should be provided to the use intended,
particular care is required if the steps might be used in wet
conditions, no slip ribbed or granular surfaces should be used
in most situations, or suitable metal textured surfaces in more
When weights are carried up or down the access steps, extra
allowance should be made for one-handed use (one hand for
holding the handrail, the other for the weight). Any excessive
weights should not be manually carried up or down mobile access
steps, other, mechanical lifting equipment should be used in
Mobile steps should not be moved with any weight on the
equipment (not used as a trolley). For order picking operations,
properly designed order picking step trolleys should be used.
Use and positioning
Sufficient space must be available for the proper use of mobile
access steps, the equipment must be used at the appropriate
positions from the point to be accessed – ie. At right angles to
the position, not at an angle necessitating stretching to the
If accessing a series of positions the operator should not
access positions necessitating stretching to the side of the
steps, the steps should always be moved to the appropriate
position before accessing the position.
Apart from the maintenance of the mobility facilities(mentioned
above), the general structure of the steps should be regularly
inspected for any signs of damage or wear. Any such signs should
be reported to the appropriate person and the steps not used
until the problem is rectified.