How Rooftop Crossover Stairs Help Building Owners Meet New OSHA Regulations

Despite a roof’s ability to keep moisture out, and hot or cold air in, their surface layers are surprisingly fragile. Most commercial and industrial roofs deteriorate before their intended lifespan due to poor maintenance, cheap materials, shoddy repairs, and abuse stemming from heavy rooftop equipment. Premature rooftop aging is not only costly but dangerous for the maintenance professionals who work on them. After a record-breaking year of roof-related fatalities, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is cracking down on rooftop safety. To avoid dire consequences, building owners need to re-evaluate their compliance with new fall protection and accessibility guidelines. In most cases, rooftop falls are the result of an unstable object or surface, especially ladders. As such, rooftop crossover stairs and ramps are quickly becoming a critical component of any OSHA-certified rooftop environment. 

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Why Install Rooftop Crossovers and Stairs?

Commercial and industrial buildings require a dependable, sustainable roof access system for three reasons:

1. Routine Rooftop Maintenance is Unavoidable

HVAC units, solar panels, ducting, and piping are commonly stored on commercial roofs to save space, reduce noise, and keep assets out of harm’s way. These assets require upkeep and repairs, and so does the surrounding environment. Roof surfaces should be surveyed regularly to check for leaks, mold, mildew, drainage issues, and other problems that could compromise structural integrity.

2. Roofs Are Inherently Dangerous

Sheer height is only one of the many dangers awaiting rooftop maintenance workers. They can easily trip over ventilation ducts or cabling, fall through skylights, lose their footing on parapets, and encounter other common rooftop hazards. Furthermore, when using ladders to navigate rooftop obstacles, such as walls, dividers, gaps, and changes in level, slope, or height, they could become unstable and tip over, causing severe injury or death.

3. Foot Traffic Causes Damage

Roof surfaces are designed to perform two essential jobs: waterproof and insulate. Over time, foot traffic can cause seams in the outer membrane to pull apart and insulation to compress, rendering both surfaces ineffective. Without a defined pathway, rooftop workers also risk coming into contact with hazardous materials, wandering too close to the roof’s edge, or bumping into equipment.


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Installation Guide

PHP Systems/Design is the innovator behind the first-ever zero-penetration rooftop support systems and the nation’s leading designer, manufacturer, and supplier of rooftop crossover stairs and exterior roof access stairs. Our rooftop access systems are custom-engineered according to the exact specifications of your building and do not require penetrations, flashing, or damage to your roof’s membrane in any way.

For nearly three decades, we have improved the safety, function, and lifespan of rooftop environments for building owners and facility managers nationally and internationally across a broad range of industries, including:


OSHA is a federal agency that sets the safety standard in every US state; however, 25 states implement additional safety regulations run by state government agencies. The latest federal and state guidelines focus on four key safety areas:

  1. Fall Protection Plans
  2. Types of Roof Edge Protection
  3. Fall-Arrest Systems
  4. Interior Roof Fall Hazards

Our zero-penetration crossover stair systems are compliant with all federal and state regulations and designed to solve all significant fall and access safety concerns associated with commercial and industrial roof access. 

Safely Navigate Around Obstructions

All PHP access equipment is constructed of hot-dip galvanized carbon steel framing and injection molded, high density/high impact, UV-protected polypropylene bases to deliver unparalleled sustainability in all weather conditions. Exterior roof access stairs allow workers to safely access equipment on various levels, while crossovers make areas obstructed by ducting, piping, or equipment easy to reach for surveying, maintenance, or repairs. 

Protect Roof Warranties and Lifespan

A stabilized crossover stair system with guardrails will keep maintenance workers in designated “safe” areas and off the roof’s delicate surface. Since our installation method manages weight distribution and displacement without penetrating the roof’s protective surfaces, crossovers and stairs won’t void rooftop warranties or shorten the lifespan of your roof investment. 

Avoid Rooftop Hazards

Rooftop crossover stairs profoundly improve safety by eliminating the need for unstable ladders, which are the No.1 cause of rooftop falls. These systems also prevent tripping over equipment and keep employees away from hazardous material, such as live electric currents, asbestos, lead paint, silica dust, and hot rooftop surfaces. 

Reduce Liability Risks

If randomly selected for an inspection or worse—reported for poor rooftop conditions—building owners can be cited or fined thousands of dollars for non-compliance. New OSHA guidelines are keenly focused on guardrail systems, the structural integrity of roofing surfaces and support equipment, and safe scaffold access via attachable ladders, stairs, crossovers, and other access systems. Not surprisingly, ladders are the sixth most common violation listed on the OSHA’s annual Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards list. If your rooftop isn’t up to code and an employee has an accident, the average cost of a slip and fall lawsuit is $54,000. Claims can also increase premiums and professional liability insurance, ruin reputations, and result in the highest cost of all—someone’s debilitating injury or loss of life. Investing in a rooftop access system with OSHA-compliant stairs and guardrails is the most cost-effective way to meet all regulations and prevent ghastly consequences.

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Product Breakdown

PHP rooftop access systems are modular, allowing for absolute customization on flat and sloped rooftop environments. Our rooftop access systems consist of:  


The PHP Crossover provides safe access to all areas of a rooftop environment, including those blocked by piping, ducting, or equipment. 

Exterior Roof-Access Stairs

The PHP Stairs allow workers to access hard-to-reach equipment on varying rooftop levels safely. 

Guardrail Systems

The PHP Guardrail System ensures OSHA compliance and protects anyone working within six feet of a roof’s edge or elevations over 48 inches. 


When it comes to protecting your employees, roof, and equipment—high risk never results in high reward. Play it safe (and compliant) with the most high-performance rooftop crossover stairs available. PHP Systems/Design is the first and only provider of a system that does not violate roofing manufacturer warranties. In addition to preserving the life of your roof, our low-maintenance products are built to last and backed by a 5-year limited warranty. 


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