A Guide to Portable Stairways

Portable stairways are versatile, quick to assemble and a mainstay of the rail sector network. Their function as embankment and temporary steps offer safe pedestrian and worker access and they are a common sight in locations throughout the UK. Portable stairways are a practical solution to a very straightforward problem and as with most simple ideas, their popularity comes as a by-product of clever engineering and smart design.

A modular approach

Modular systems are designed to cope with a wide variety of scenarios that can be applied to provide access as the need arises. The galvanised sectional frames make for a very lightweight system that can be configured or reconfigured in a matter of minutes, and a unit of up to 9 steps can be installed manually by two operatives without the need for lifting equipment. After connecting the stairs using a series of secure attachments, there is a locking mechanism provided which gives both stability and user confidence. The temporary steps can be used on embankments between 25º and 50º and placed directly against the slope. The stairway is then suitably packed off the embankment with restraints fitted at the top and bottom to ensure stability.

Safe, horizontal treads

A great in-built design feature of portable steps is their ability to maintain horizontal treads whatever the gradient or slope. As with any ladder access system safety is of the utmost importance and this auto-adjustment feature means users are not constantly having to shift their weight in order to maintain balance.

The self-adjusting theme continues with the double rail handrails which automatically set at the correct angle and height for the gradient which provides comfort and safety during ascent and descent. In addition, embankment and temporary steps conform and are tested to meet all the design specifications within the European Standard EN 12811, Temporary Works Equipment: performance requirements and general design.

The treads have a steel sectional slatted surface with a 750mm wide anti-slip pattern to prevent slips in wet or muddy conditions, a big advantage when workers want to manoeuvre in safety while carrying small tools and equipment.

Ease of transport

The modular approach means lengths of stairways and handrails can be transported in foldable sections, either ready assembled or joined onsite to complete the required length. The lightweight and compact approach means fewer depot trips and a more efficient use of transport in terms of cost and time. The partitioned nature of the steps and handrails means the load will not gain additional weight as a result of rain and excess water, an important consideration both for transport and onsite use.

Multiple applications

Portable stairways can be deployed swiftly and are a highly flexible stairway solution with multiple applications, including:

  • Temporary stairs in lieu of a permanent stairway
  • A stairway between different scaffold levels
  • Access up batters and embankments
  • Access to temporary sites
  • Access to welfare cabins
  • Access and egress to excavations (when used with platforms etc.)

TPA provide a full and comprehensive service for temporary access solutions, supplying and delivering equipment for pedestrian or vehicular access over land and water. With a transport network stretching throughout the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe, customers operating in sectors such as rail, construction, marine and utilities make TPA their first choice as a trusted partner offering unrivalled customer support.