tiller steps

Manufacturers offer a variety of different types and styles of tiller steps leading up into the tiller cab. Often the type of steps that are selected is dependent on the style of tiller door that is chosen. For example, you would not want your steps to be directly under the tiller door opening if you’re using an outward swinging or hinged tiller doors. As the tiller operator climbs up the tiller steps and opens the door, the tiller door becomes an obstacle for the tiller operator because it swings out over the trailer. In this case the steps would be offset to the front of the tiller doors, providing no obstacles and allowing the tiller operator a smoother transition up the steps into the tiller cage. Climbing up these types of stairs can feel strange at first but you soon become accustomed to the ergonomics. (Click to enlarge)

However, if you’re using sliding tiller doors  or accordion tiller doors, your steps can be directly under the tiller door opening. These doors do not inhibit the tiller operator's climb up the steps because the doors back slide behind the tiller cab. (Click to enlarge)

step placement considerations

Another consideration that may determine the position of your tiller steps on the trailer is your compartment configuration. For example, if you require a compartment on the very back of your trailer, your tiller steps would be offset from your tiller door in the front of that compartment. If you choose to add compartments on the end of your trailer be careful of their size, as they can change the overall trailer profile. Some departments add ground ladders on the exterior side of their trailer, and depending on the ladder size they can block the tiller cab opening thus requiring the steps to be pushed to the very end of your trailer. (Click to enlarge)

size and function

Over the life of the tractor drawn aerial the tiller operator will climb up and down the tiller steps thousands of times. Making sure the steps are functional and set up correctly is extremely important. You want to make access as easy as possible. Most tiller steps are a combination of both ladder and stairs. (Click to enlarge)


You don’t want to skimp on the tiller step width and length, tiller operators need adequate space to move up and down the tiller steps. 

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As you can see in the example to the left, a department chose compartment space over ample size for their tiller steps. (Click to enlarge)