Title:
Public Access Stair System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A public access stair assembly for use with a scaffold assembly and methods for assembling or installing such an assembly are disclosed. Advantageously, the stair assembly is connected in-line with the scaffold assembly to create an integrated public access stair system. The system and methods disclosed herein provide numerous benefits including, by way of example and not limitation, quick installation and dismantling.



Inventors:
Frank, Roger S. (New Berlin, WI, US)
Karlsen, Stig (Burlington, WI, US)
Libert, Scott D. (Greenfield, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/766374
Publication Date:
08/21/2008
Filing Date:
06/21/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04F11/025
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HOLLOWAY, JASON R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HUSCH BLACKWELL LLP/Milwaukee (MILWAUKEE, WI, US)
Claims:
1. A method of assembling a public access stair system, the method comprising: providing a scaffold assembly that includes a plurality of vertical members that are connected to a plurality of horizontal members; providing a plurality of support bracket assemblies and connecting the plurality of support bracket assemblies to the scaffold assembly; providing a public access stair assembly having a guard rail assembly that includes a plurality of guard rail post mechanisms, the stair assembly further including a plurality of stair units; and connecting the public access stair system to the scaffold assembly using the plurality of support bracket assemblies such that the plurality of post mechanisms are in-line with respect to the plurality of vertical scaffold members.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein each of the stringer support bracket assemblies includes a coupling mechanism and the connecting includes securing the plurality of stringer support bracket assemblies to the supporting scaffold assembly by slidably engaging the respective coupling mechanism to a respective one of the vertical scaffold members.

3. The method of claim 2 wherein the connecting includes slidably engaging the respective coupling mechanism to a respective one of the guard rail post mechanisms.

4. The method of claim 1 further comprising providing a plurality of stringer mechanisms that are connected to the plurality of stair units and connecting the plurality of stringer mechanisms to the plurality of stringer support bracket assemblies.

5. A method of assembling a public access stair system, the method comprising: providing a supporting scaffold assembly having a plurality of horizontal scaffold members that are connected to a plurality of vertical scaffold members; providing a plurality of stringer support brackets assemblies; connecting the plurality of stringer support bracket assemblies to the supporting scaffold assembly; providing a plurality of stringer mechanisms having a plurality of stair units secured thereto; connecting and securing the plurality of stringer mechanisms to the plurality of stringer support bracket assemblies; providing a plurality of guard rail post mechanisms; connecting the plurality of guard rail post mechanisms to the plurality of stringer support bracket assemblies; providing a plurality of guard panels; connecting the plurality of guard panels to the plurality of guard rail posts; providing a hand rail or hand rail segment; and connecting the hand rail or hand rail segment to the plurality of guard rail posts and to the plurality of guard panels.

6. The method of claim 5 wherein each of the stringer support bracket assemblies includes a coupling mechanism and the connecting of the plurality of stringer support bracket assemblies to the supporting scaffold assembly includes slidably engaging the coupling mechanism with one of the vertical scaffold members.

7. The method of claim 6 wherein the coupling mechanism includes a male projection where the engaging includes sliding the male projections with respect to the one vertical scaffold member.

8. The method of claim 6 wherein the coupling mechanism includes another male projection and wherein the connecting of the plurality of guard rail post mechanisms to the stringer support bracket assemblies includes slidably engaging the male projection of the coupling mechanism with respect to one of the guard rail post mechanisms.

9. The method of claim 8 wherein the connecting of a respective one of the plurality of guard rail post mechanisms to a respective one of the stringer support bracket assemblies includes snap-fit engagement.

10. The method of claim 5 wherein the stringer support bracket assemblies permit at least one of the plurality of guard rail post mechanisms and the plurality of stringer support mechanisms of the stair assembly to be connected in-line with respect to the scaffold assembly.

11. The method of claim 10 wherein at least one of the plurality of guard rail post mechanisms and the plurality of stringer support mechanisms of the stair assembly are connected in-line with respect to plurality of vertical support members of the scaffold assembly.

12. A public access stair assembly for use with a scaffold assembly having horizontal members that are connected to vertical members, the public access stair assembly comprising: a plurality of stringer support bracket assemblies for connection to a scaffold assembly; a stringer mechanism connected to a plurality of stringer support bracket assemblies; a guard rail assembly having a plurality of guard rail post mechanisms capable of supporting a guard rail mechanism and a guard panel structure, the post mechanisms connected to the plurality of stair stringer support bracket assemblies; and a plurality of stair units that are connected, at least indirectly to, at least one of the plurality of stringer support bracket assemblies, the stair stringer mechanism and the guard rail post mechanisms, the plurality of stair units permitting a user of the public access stair assembly to ascend to and/or descend stair units of the stair assembly.

13. The assembly of claim 12 wherein the stringer support bracket assemblies include a coupling mechanism for coupling each of the assemblies to a respective guard rail post mechanism and a respective vertical member or a respective horizontal member of the scaffold assembly to which the public access stair assembly can be used.

14. The assembly of claim 12 wherein the guard rail assembly includes a guard panel and the guard rail post mechanisms include a mechanism for capturing, containing or otherwise connecting to the guard panel.

15. The assembly of claim 14 wherein the guard rail post mechanisms include a plate-like device for connecting the post mechanism to at least a portion of a handrail.

16. The assembly of claim 15 wherein the at least a portion of a handrail includes a channel and wherein the channel can be used as a handle and/or panel connection channel.

17. The assembly of claim 1 wherein a plurality of plate-like mechanisms are connected to the stringer support bracket assemblies and the plate-like mechanisms each create saddle-like area to support the stair stringer mechanism.

18. The assembly of claim 17 wherein the stair stringer mechanism is a modular unit.

19. The assembly of claim 12 further comprising an uplift bracket mechanism that is used to secure the stringer support brackets and the stringers to the scaffold assembly.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) to Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/890,234, filed on Feb. 16, 2007, the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference,

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates generally to public access stair system and more particularly to a public access stair system for use with a scaffold system.

BACKGROUND

Public access stairs can allow users to access temporary or semi-permanent grandstands, private boxes and other platforms. Scaffold assemblies are generally known and typically include vertical and horizontal members that are connected together. Such assemblies typically permit relatively rapid erection and dismantling. However, attempts to utilize public access stair units in conjunction with scaffolding, have either not been feasible, or at best, difficult to execute. For example, large quantities of on-site fabrication of items such as handrails, thresholds, turnarounds, and the like, have typically been required.

As such, it would be desirable to provide a public access stair system that allows for rapid installation of stairs onto scaffolding such that problems, including on-site fabrication of components, are reduced substantially or altogether eliminated.

SUMMARY

In accordance with at least one aspect of the present invention, a public access stair assembly for use with a scaffold assembly having horizontal members that are connected to vertical members is disclosed. The public access stair assembly comprises a plurality of stringer support bracket assemblies for connection to a scaffold assembly; a stringer mechanism connected to a plurality of stringer support bracket assemblies; a guard rail assembly having a plurality of guard rail post mechanisms capable of supporting a guard rail mechanism and a guard panel structure, the post mechanisms connected to the plurality of stair stringer support bracket assemblies; and a plurality of stair units that are connected, at least indirectly to, at least one of the plurality of stringer support bracket assemblies, the stair stringer mechanism and the guard rail post mechanisms, the plurality of stair units permitting a user of the public access stair assembly to ascend to an upper end of the stair assembly and/or descend to a lower end of the stair assembly.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a method of assembling a public access stair system is disclosed, The method includes providing a scaffold assembly that includes a plurality of vertical members that are connected to a plurality of horizontal members; providing a plurality of support bracket assemblies and connecting the plurality of support bracket assemblies to the scaffold assembly; providing a public access stair assembly having a guard rail assembly that includes a plurality of guard rail post mechanisms, the stair assembly further including a plurality of stair units; and connecting the public access stair system to the scaffold assembly using the plurality of support bracket assemblies such that the plurality of post mechanisms are in-line with respect to the plurality of vertical scaffold members.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a method of assembling a public access stair system is disclosed. The method includes providing a supporting scaffold assembly having a plurality of horizontal scaffold members that are connected to a plurality of vertical scaffold members; providing a plurality of stringer support brackets assemblies; connecting the plurality of stringer support bracket assemblies to the supporting scaffold assembly; providing a plurality of stringer mechanisms having a plurality of stair units secured thereto; connecting and securing the plurality of stringer mechanisms to the plurality of stringer support bracket assemblies; providing a plurality of guard rail post mechanisms; connecting the plurality of guard rail post mechanisms to the plurality of stringer support bracket assemblies; providing a plurality of guard panels; connecting the plurality of guard panels to the plurality of guard rail posts; providing a hand rail or hand rail segment; and connecting the hand rail or hand rail segment to the plurality of guard rail posts and to the plurality of guard panels.

Various embodiments of the invention, including various embodiments of the assembly and methods are disclosed, contemplated and considered within the scope of the present invention. The inventive assembly and methods provide numerous benefits including, by way of example and not limitation, quick installation and dismantling which results in a reduction of costs (e.g., reduced labor costs). Other benefits will be apparent from the detailed description that follows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the invention are disclosed with reference to the accompanying drawings and are for illustrative purposes only. The invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction or the arrangement of the components illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments or of being practiced or carried out in other various ways. Like reference numerals are used to indicate like components. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 illustrates a side view of a public access stair system having a stair assembly in accordance with at least some embodiments of the invention, the assembly shown without a handrail assembly supported by an exemplary scaffold assembly;

FIG. 2 illustrates a side view showing a portion of the inventive public access stair system of FIG. 1, enlarged to better illustrate various components of the stair assembly and including a handrail assembly;

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of a portion of the public access stair system in accordance with at least some embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a side view of a portion of the public access stair system taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 5 is a reverse bottom perspective view showing one embodiment of a segment of a public access stair system.

Various items of equipment, such as fittings, fasteners, etc., have been omitted from the drawings. Those skilled in the art will realize that such conventional equipment can be employed as desired. Additionally, in certain of the drawings, various components of the system or of the assemblies or sub-assemblies may be omitted. In general, those skilled in the art will recognize that any such omissions are by design and are to simplify the drawings and associated description of the invention in its many embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Disclosed herein is a public access stair system that can be used to provide, by way of example, access to temporary or semi-permanent grandstands and private boxes. The access stair system is, advantageously, compatible with scaffolding systems. Advantageously, the inventive system can be used as a means of public access to grandstands and other platforms requiring stairs to accomplish such access.

FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a public access stair system, generally referenced by numeral 20, in accordance with at least some embodiments of the invention. By way of introduction, it is noted that the drawings essentially illustrate exemplary segments or portions of various embodiments of the invention. In use, additional segments or portions, similar or identical to those shown and described herein, or similar or identical to segments or portions that are provided in accordance with other embodiments of the present invention, are assembled, connected or otherwise provided in mechanical association with other similar or identical segments or portions to assemble a final or complete public access stair assembly system that is suitable for use. The public access stair system 20 includes a public access stair assembly, generally referenced by numeral 22. The stair assembly 22 is connected to, or more generally can be considered to be in mechanical association with, a scaffold assembly, which is generally referenced by numeral 24. Accordingly, the public access stair assembly 22 is supported, at least indirectly, by the scaffold assembly 24. An exemplary scaffolding system contemplated for use in conjunction with the public access stair assembly 22 is the Safway® Systems Scaffold, which is available from ThyssenKrupp Safway, Inc., located in Waukesha, Wis. The inventive stair system is designed to utilize, or work in conjunction with, including the Safway Systems™ Scaffold, such that the scaffold system serves as a public access stair system support structure. However, it is understood that the present invention should not be limited to this or necessarily any particular scaffold system.

Still referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the scaffold assembly 24 includes horizontal scaffold members 30, which typically take the form of tubes or tube-like structures, as well as vertical scaffold or post members 32, which also typically take the form of tubes or tube-like structures. The horizontal and vertical members are connected at predetermined distances to achieve a desired slope. In accordance with at least some embodiments, the scaffolding or scaffold assembly 24 provides for or permits attachment or connection of a horizontal scaffold tube 30 to a vertical scaffold post 32 every 21 inches vertically and this is indicated by Diagram A. In accordance with at least some embodiments using the scaffold system noted above, a horizontal bearer (e.g., a 3-foot SBR3 Safway Systems Scaffold horizontal bearer) can be combined with or connected to the vertical posts (e.g., a Safway Systems Scaffold Vertical Post) to create the necessary slope. The scaffold assembly 24 includes primary bracket or connector mechanisms 34 to connect the horizontal and vertical scaffold members 30 and 32, respectively. The scaffold assembly 24 further includes additional connector mechanisms 36 (only shown in FIG. 1) and brace assemblies 38 (again only shown in FIG. 1), which typically include a plurality of brace mechanisms, and which are used to connect and support the horizontal and vertical scaffold members 30 and 32, respectively, over a longer span. More specifically, such additional bracing is typically included to provide for added support and rigidity as needed. The configuration of such bracing can vary (e.g., in size, shape, number of component brace mechanisms, etc.) depending upon a variety of factors associated with the particular end-use application, for example, a required load to be supported over a given span. Those of skill in the art shall recognize that the invention is not limited to the above-mentioned or any particular geometry or connection scheme or format.

As shown, the public access stair assembly 22 includes a plurality of stringer mechanisms 40, or stringers, and the stringer mechanisms are connected to and serve, at least in part, to support stair units 42 via stair unit supports 44. Each stringer 40 is a modular unit that is light weight, and inexpensive to fabricate, transport, and handle. As illustrated specifically in FIG. 2, the stair assembly 20 further includes a guard rail assembly 21. The assembly 21 includes guard rail posts or post mechanisms 46 which are connected to and supported by the stringer mechanisms 40 and the scaffold assembly 24. The guard rail posts 46 permit secure attachment of each hand rail segment 48 which makes up a handrail 50. Panels 52 (two of which are shown) are included and secured to, or captured by, the guard rail posts and the hand rail segments 48. These panels are typically made of wood (e.g., plywood) and can be termed “guard panels” since they can generally serve to provide additional safety for users walking on the stair assembly 22. The guardrail posts 46 also include one or more plates 47 which allow the attachment of a handrail segment 48. In the present embodiment, this handrail segment 48 comprises an integral channel 49 that covers, or substantially covers, the top (typically exposed) edge or portion of the plywood panels 52. The channel(s) 49 have plates 47 on either end which serve to couple the handrail segment such that the handrail 50 is an extended, smooth, and continuous handrail for the system 20. Here again, those of skill in the art will recognize that variations to the illustrated embodiment, for example, changes to the size, shape and geometry of the assembly components, are contemplated and considered within the scope of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of one embodiment of the public access stair system 20. As noted above, the stair system 20 includes stair assembly, generally referenced by bracketed lines and numeral 22, which is connected to the scaffold assembly, which is generally referenced by bracketed lines and numeral 24. The stair assembly is again shown to include a stringer mechanism 40 that is connected to the stair unit 42 via supports 44. The stair assembly further includes a guard rail assembly 21. The assembly 21 includes guard rail posts 46 which are connected to handrail segment 48 and used, at least in part, to capture or otherwise secure guard panel 52. Stated another way, each of the guard rail post mechanisms typically includes a seat mechanism (or simply “seat”) on its sides that can be used to contain or otherwise capture a sheet or piece of plywood or other material, generally by numeral 52 between (2) adjacent guard rail posts 46. This plywood or other material can serve as the guard panel along the length of stairs 42 of the stair assembly 20. The scaffold assembly again includes horizontal and vertical support members 30 and 32, respectively, which are connected by bracket mechanisms 34.

Advantageously, the public access stair system 20 incorporates stringer support brackets, or stringer support bracket assemblies, which are indicated by numeral 54. Each of the stringer support brackets 54 includes a coupler pin or coupler mechanism 55 having a pair of male projections 56a-b on its top and bottom sides which permit engagement (e.g., via sliding insertion) with a top end 57 of a respective vertical scaffold member 32 and a bottom end 59 of a respective guard rail post 46. In at least some embodiments, engagement can be accomplished with the respective coupler mechanism removed from the respective stringer support bracket. The stringer support brackets 54 include plates or plate-like mechanisms, indicated by numeral 60, and which are connected or otherwise secured to their respective coupler mechanism 55. In accordance with at least some embodiments, the plates 60 create a saddle-like space which serves to support a respective stair stringer 40. More specifically, the plates 60 at least temporarily hold the stringers 40 in place, thereby securing the stringers to the scaffold assembly 24. In at least some embodiments, the saddle or saddle-like space can be a V-shaped, or substantially V-shaped space, in other embodiments the saddle-like space can be U-shaped or substantially U-shaped, and in still other embodiments, the saddle-like space can take on other geometries. The top side male projections 56b each include a connecting mechanism 62 which creates a connection for the respective guard rail post mechanisms 46. In the embodiment shown, mechanisms 62 take the form of an internal snap or snap-button mechanism that serves to accomplish the respective connections via snapping engagement. Uplift bracket mechanisms 64, connected to brackets 34, are also incorporated and are utilized as described below. Here again, those of skill in the art will recognize that variations to the illustrated embodiment, for example, changes to the size, shape and geometry of the assembly components, are contemplated and considered to be well within the scope of the present invention.

Use/Installation

With reference to FIG. 3, in accordance with at least some embodiments of the invention, installation and/or assembly of the public access stair assembly 20 can take place as follows; a supporting scaffold 24 is typically assembled and provided (or provided and subsequently assembled) in appropriate fashion by connecting the horizontal and vertical scaffold members 30 and 32 via primary bracket members 34; stringer support brackets assemblies 54 are provided and connected to the supporting scaffold by engaging the male projections 56a with the vertical scaffold members 34; stringers 40 (having stair units 42 or treads attached or otherwise secured thereto) are then provided and connected to the stringer support bracket assemblies via connecting elements, such as the nut 66 and bolt 67 shown; uplift brackets mechanisms 64 are then provided and connected, for example using connecting elements, such as a stringer nut 68 and bolt 69 shown, to secure the stringer support brackets and the stringers to the scaffold; guard rail posts or post mechanisms 46 are provided and connected to the stringer support bracket assemblies 54 via, for example, the snap-fit engagement described above; guard panels 52 (one of which is shown) are provided and connected to the guard rail posts 46; and a hand rail or hand rail segment 48 is provided and connected to the guard rail posts 46 and the guard panel 52. It is contemplated that the above steps can be combined (so as to reduce the total number of steps), segregated (to increase the number of steps), rearranged and/or re-ordered as necessary to facilitate the installation process, and such modification(s) should be and are considered within the scope of the present invention. Dashed lines in the Figure illustrate respective engagement of the above-referenced elements. Thus, in order to disconnect or otherwise disassemble the system 20, the above referenced process would be reversed. Those of skill in the art will recognize that variations to this method, consistent and in accordance with the various embodiments of the present invention, are contemplated and considered to be well within the scope of the present invention. Advantageously, the stringer support bracket assemblies 54 permit the stair assembly 22, including the guard rail post mechanisms 46 and the stringer support mechanisms 40 of the stair assembly, to be connected in-line with the support scaffold assembly 24, including the scaffold assembly vertical support members 32.

As already noted, the drawings illustrate segments or portions of an exemplary system in accordance with at least some embodiments of the invention. In practice, and although not shown, additional segments or portions, similar or identical to those shown and described herein (or similar or identical to segments or portions that are provided in accordance with other embodiments of the present invention), can be assembled, connected or otherwise provided in mechanical association with other similar or identical segments or portions to assemble a final public access stair assembly system suitable for use. Further, it is noted that installation, as described herein, is typically a manual process, however, automation of various aspects of the installation procedure are contemplated and considered within the scope of the present invention. In addition, one of skill in the art will recognize that the term “connecting” (and similar terms) used herein shall include, where appropriate, both direct and indirect connection.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged side view of a portion of the public access stair system taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 2. As shown, scaffold vertical member 32 is engaged (as shown, slidably engaged) with male projection 56a of coupler pin mechanism 55 of the stringer support bracket assembly 54. And guard rail post bottom end 59 of guard rail post member 46 is engaged (again as shown, slidably engaged) with male projection 56b of the coupler pin mechanism 55 of the bracket assembly 54. As noted previously, engagement of the bottom end 59 with respect to the coupler mechanism 55 is accomplished, in at least the present embodiment, via snap-fit connecting mechanism 62. Guard rail post member 46 supports and anchors guard panels 52. Uplift bracket 62, which is positioned adjacent a primary scaffold connector mechanism 34 and is connected to plate mechanisms 60 (one of which is shown). The plate mechanisms 60, as noted above, serve to support stringer mechanisms 40. The plate mechanisms are secured to the stringer mechanisms via connectors 70 and 71, which typically comprise a nut and bolt combination. For example, and with reference as well to FIG. 3, connector 71 includes nut 68 and bolt 69. Connector 71 also serves to secure the plates 60 and the stringer mechanism 40 to the uplift bracket (or “hold down”) mechanism 62. Temporary supports 74 and 76 are shown and are included to provide support for the stringer mechanisms during assembly prior to final securing of the stringer mechanisms into position. Connectors 78a-b are included to secure the plates 60 to the coupler mechanism 55, and more generally, to the stringer support bracket assembly 54. An exemplary or representative stair unit 42 is illustrated as well. In accordance with at least some embodiments, and as shown, the stair unit 42 includes a plurality of planks 43, or plank mechanisms, typically having treads (not shown), which are secured to representative stair unit support mechanism 44, via connection mechanisms 47. As shown, by way of example, the connection mechanisms include nut and bolt combinations. The stair unit support mechanism 44 is connected to the stringer mechanism 40. In at least some embodiments, one or more stair unit support mechanisms can be integrated with one or more stringer mechanisms.

FIG. 5 is a reverse bottom perspective view showing one embodiment of a public access stair system 80. The system 80 again includes a public access stair assembly, generally referenced by numeral 82 that is connected to and supported by a scaffold assembly, which is generally referenced by numeral 84. The scaffold assembly 84 includes horizontal scaffold members 86 and vertical scaffold or post members 88, both of which can, but do not necessarily, take the form of tubes or tube-like structures. The scaffold assembly 84 again includes primary bracket or connector mechanisms 90 to connect the horizontal and vertical scaffold members, respectively. In accordance with at least some embodiments, the public access stair assembly 82 includes a stringer mechanisms 92, or stringers, and the stringer mechanisms are connected to and serve to support, at least in part, stair units 94. As noted above, each stringer 92 is a modular unit that is lightweight, and inexpensive to fabricate, transport, and handle. The stair assembly 82 further includes guard rail posts or post mechanisms 96 which are connected to and supported by the stringer mechanisms 92 and the scaffold assembly 84. The guard rail posts 96 permit secure attachment of each hand rail segment 98 (which again are used to make up a continuous handrail or handrail assembly as noted herein). Panels 102 (two of which are shown) are included and secured to the guard rail posts and the hand rail segments 98. Again, these panels are typically made of wood (e.g., plywood) and can be termed “guard panels” since they can generally serve to provide additional safety for users walking on the stair assembly 82. The guardrail posts 96 also include one or more plates 97 which allow the attachment of a handrail segment 98. In the present embodiment, each handrail segment 98 comprises an integral channel 99 that covers, or substantially covers, the top (typically exposed) edge of the plywood panels 102. The channel can also serve to couple the handrail segment such that the assembled handrail or handrail assembly is an extended, smooth, and continuous handrail for the system 80 via plates 97 on either end of the channel. Stringer support bracket assemblies 104 are included and are used to secure the guard rail posts 96 of the public stair assembly to the vertical post mechanisms 88 of the scaffold assembly 84.

The stair assembly, including the guard rail post mechanisms and the stinger support mechanisms, are connected in-line with the support scaffold assembly, including the scaffold assembly vertical support members, such that the scaffold and stair assemblies can be integrated with one another and continuously, or substantially continuously, connected. Accordingly, a public access stair system is provided that allows for public access to and within various seating and other destinations, such as grandstands and private boxes. The access stair system is, advantageously, compatible with scaffolding systems. The system includes a stair assembly that can be installed, so as to be in mechanical association with, an applicable or desired scaffold system, and various benefits of efficiency (e.g., a minimum number of parts).

Although the present invention is intended to be highly reliable, all physical systems are susceptible to failure and provision must be made for such failure. Accordingly, it is understood that safety, in an industrial process, depends on a wide variety of factors outside of the scope of the present invention including, for example, design of the system; installation and maintenance of the components of the system; the cooperation and training of individuals using the system; and consideration of the failure modes of the other components being utilized. No representation is made herein that the present invention in its various embodiments will make an industrial process safe, and no recommendation is made herein to utilize one preferred embodiment over, or to the exclusion of, another. Rather, the invention results in various advantages not achieved by prior solutions.

It is specifically intended that the present invention not be limited to the embodiments and illustrations contained herein, but include modified forms of those embodiments including portions of the embodiments and combinations of elements of different embodiments as come within the scope of the following claims. More generally, while the present invention has been shown and described in terms of various embodiments, including at least one preferred embodiment, it is recognized that equivalents, alternatives, and modifications, aside from those expressly stated, are possible and considered to be within the scope of the appending claims.