Living in a metropolitan environment presents a great number of challenges. It is more challenging when you are the government trying to handle municipality problems. As the authority and law enforcing body of the country, governments are tasked with the development, as well as the safety of its citizens.
There is a simple relation that exists between the government and its citizens. Citizens pay taxes and expect some basic necessities, benefits, and progress in the country in return.
The government of the United States, just like any other country, collects various taxes from its citizens, and spends it on stabilizing the economy and development.
For the safety of its citizens, the government of the US sets up safety protocols, oversees, and regulates each sector of the country’s activities through various federal departments. The United States Department of Labor regulates and enforces labor laws where applicable. If there is a construction company planning to operate in the United States, it must comply with all the safety regulations and labor laws.
One such safety regulation, under Walking-Working Surfaces Safety, outlines the implementation, maintenance, and replacement of step bolts and manhole steps.
Step bolts are installed on tall, steel structures, which are used as a ladder to climb. They are used with communication and electrical towers and require trained personnel to use.
Similar to step bolts, manhole steps provide a platform to rest feet on while climbing in or out of manholes. Commonly designed in an “N” shape, they are individual steps partly cemented in the wall to create a ladder for workers.
Let us explain what the government of USA describes as regulations during the development and implementation of the aforementioned items.
Design of the Step Bolt
The US Department of Labor states that all step bolts installed after January 17, 2017, must be well protected against corrosion through special coating. This holds especially true in humid areas, such as areas around shorelines.
Corrosion causes metal to rust and reduce friction, therefore, step bolts will be difficult to remove later. Step bolts must also be designed in a way that prevents an employee’s foot from slipping off. As we mentioned earlier, step bolts are used to climb high altitudes, so it is imperative that the surface of the step bolts is not slippery and provides adequate grip while wearing gloves.
Implementation of the Step Bolt
While installing step bolts, there should be a vertical space with a distance of at least 12 inches. Space between each step bolt must provide reachability to the user, hence, the vertical distance should not exceed 18 inches. Each step bolt must have a 4.5 inches wide clear width to provide enough space to land foot on.
Each step bolt which was installed on or after January 17, 2018 must be capable of supporting at least four times than its specified maximum intended load.
Maintenance of the Step Bolt
Step bolts must be kept maintained through proper inspection before being declared safe to work on. A step bolt will be removed and replaced by one that meets requirements, if a step bolt is bent more than 15 degrees from the perpendicular in any direction.
These steps must be taken care of before an individual is deployed to work.
Design of the Manhole Steps
All manhole steps installed on or after January 17, 2017, must not have an even surface. To provide grip and prevent the user from slipping, each manhole step installed will have been constructed as corrugated, knurled, or dimpled. They must also be protected through coating or be manufactured using such material that prevents corrosion.
Implementation of Manhole Steps
Each manhole step must be 16 inches apart from each other’s center, which is where the user will support his foot. And it shall have a minimum width of 10 inches to provide adequate stepping space.
Just as the case with maintaining step bolts, manhole steps are required to be inspected every time before a user is deployed to use it. A great number of rules and regulations have been imposed on employers to ensure their workers safety. As part of the mission to enforce labor laws, the United States Department of Labor exercises routine inspections on sites. Employers will be subjected to heavy fines if any lapses in following safety regulations are observed.
Employers can seek to benefit from OSHA 30 Hour General Industry Outreach course which is suited for Job Supervisors, Foremen, and industries such as Manufacturing, Warehouse, Distribution, Retail, and Healthcare.