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Manhole Steps: An Essential Guide in Safety, Installation and Application

Introduction

Ensure the next stage of your underground infrastructure conducts the correct installation of high-quality manhole steps with this essential guide.

All underground infrastructure requires reliable accessibility to secure safe passageways for technicians, operatives, and engineers to deliver their services.  

But where some “Deep” manholes, defined by a depth beyond five feet, have permanent entry methods like in-built ladders, others will require the installation of manhole steps. 

This piece provides an ultimate guide in manhole steps with the proper safety regulations, application, and installation instructions to ensure you provide the correct underground workspace for your staff.

Ensure that your underground infrastructure conducts the correct installation of high-quality manhole steps, covering safety and application procedures.

Manhole Steps: Basics, Materials, and Types

1. Cable Support

At a basic function, manhole steps are installed inside manholes to allow safe entry and exit. Also known as rungs or ladders, manhole steps require strong materials like cast iron, galvanised steel, or aluminium.

However, plastic variations are available, such as copolymer polypropylene. Manhole steps ideally get coated in corrosive, chemical and weather-resistant protection, such as galvanised steel.

Galvanised steel ensures that your manhole steps won’t degrade over time while sustaining its structural integrity.

The dimensions of a manhole cover in the UK can vary across measurements of 300mm x 300mm to 1200mm x 1200mm for square covers and 450mm to 600mm for circular covers.

However, once inside the manhole, the wall or barrel of the main cylinder can expand with a standard size of around four feet in diameter.

Manhole steps can come in various styles depending on the hole. The standard design for manhole steps tends to be vertical steps. But spiral steps are also used, especially in greater depths where a spiral around the interior wall can facilitate access within a limited space.

But whether vertical or spiral, manhole steps can be fixed or temporary. By installing removable manhole steps, you can help support maintenance and inspection purposes but require extra vigilance each time they get removed and reinserted.

6 Safety Measures to Consider with Manhole Steps

It goes without saying whenever regarding underground infrastructure and depths that can easily exceed five feet. Safety remains paramount when installing and maintaining manhole steps. Failure to follow safety protocols can result in accidents and serious injuries.

When working in confined spaces, you should always establish “safe systems of work” based on an official risk assessment identifying precautions and injury prevention. 

Therefore, here are some safety protocols to follow when installing your manhole steps: 

Before installing your manhole steps, conduct a thorough site assessment to identify potential hazards like unstable surfaces while calculating your measurements. The site assessment should establish the appropriate entry and exit protocols. 

Any workers must be trained in the necessary manhole entry and safety procedures when tasked with manhole step installation. The necessity of these precautions can relate to The Confined Spaces Regulations 1997 and The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Ensure your staff get given the appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment), such as hard hats, gloves, safety glasses, harnesses, etc.

Keep manhole steps and surrounding surfaces free from slippery substances like oil and grease. For additional safety, invest in manhole steps that have an anti-slip groove pattern.

During installation, application, and maintenance, ensure workers have proper lighting inside for good visibility.

Assign individuals to monitor the manhole when active in case emergencies occur. Keep records of installation, inspection, repair, and safety incidents.

Manhole step NO1 - Barton International

Iron Anchor 4

Iron Anchor 4 - Barton International

Manhole step NO1

How to Install Steps into Manhole Rings

For the safe installation of your manhole steps, you will require the following tools and materials:

Now, for correct installation practices, follow these steps:

With your measuring tape, marker pen and spirit level, mark the ends where your manhole steps will get inserted.

Reference the centre of each side of the rung to measure the distance to the next step between 300mm, 320mm, 340mm and 380mm from centre to centre. Repeat this process for each manhole step, leaving a recommended distance of 250mm between.

Drill with your concrete or corrugated steel drill bit (25mm diameter) to a depth of 85mm to insert each end of your manhole step.

Insert your manhole steps into the drilled holes and use your nylon hammer to ensure each step is flush with its intended insertion depth.

With your manhole steps inserted, they should withstand tensile forces of 800kg. The next step is to test the steps appropriately and schedule the necessary inspection and maintenance to ensure they remain safe.

Invest in High-Quality Manhole Steps

At Barton International, we provide Manhole step NO1. A galvanised steel non-slip step suited to brick and reinforced concrete manholes.

Manhole step NO1 has a dimension of 125mm step length and 250mm overall length, with anti-slip grooved protection and is suitable for manholes where maintenance engineers access underground chambers to perform schedules checks, repairs, and upgrades.

The galvanised steel ensures any corrosive substances can’t reach the underlying steel while sustaining the structural integrity when attached to brick or concrete substrate.  

Speak to Manhole Step Specialists

Barton International offers expertise in manhole step applications as a trusted supplier of custom underground cable management components.  

As a reliable partner within the telecommunications and utility sectors where engineering competence is paramount, we ensure all our products offer high quality and value for money.

For more details about how our manhole step products can serve your underground infrastructure requirements, get in touch today and receive a free assessment.

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