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Importance of Safety Handrails


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Title: Importance of Safety Handrails

The Importance of Safety Handrails
Mostly handrails are noticed less but important
part of a building's layout. When properly
installed and maintained, they increase the
welcoming feel to seniors, persons with
disabilities and others with mobility issues.
Handrails are most frequent physical interaction
of a visitor with the building structure and can
set the tone for the person's experience with the
facility they are about to enter.
Inside a building, handrails provide needed
support on staircases and in hallways and common
spaces. Handrails are a key safety device in the
prevention of slips and falls. Most people
normally associate them with stairways and
elevated surfaces, but they also are very
important on level surfaces as a provider of
additional support. Handrails also make a
facility more accessible.
A mandatory inclusion in wheelchair access ramps,
handrails help those utilizing mobility
enhancement devices safely navigate entry into
facilities which are higher than street level.
They also provide important support for seniors
and other people who have a difficult time
walking. Handrails play pedestrian management
role at large events by channelling guests in an
orderly fashion through desired entry points.
They are an important safety consideration on
wide staircases. Additional railings must be
erected if the staircase is more than 88 inches
wide, but operators of arenas and other public
venues install them in much narrower areas to
encourage guests moving in opposite directions to
use separate sides. They also ensure a safety
point is close by for those needing it.
There are several important safety considerations
to keep in mind when choosing and maintaining
handrail systems. The first is to make sure they
are kept free of locked bicycles. The site owner
must be vigilant in keeping the protected area
free of snow, ice, and debris which can obstruct
the pathway, increase the slippery feel of the
handrail and heighten the chances of an accident.
Handrail placement must also facilitate easy use
by small children. In areas where small children
are likely to use the stairs, an initial unit
should be placed no more than 28 inches high, as
measured from the floor to the top. Mandatory
rails at a height between 34 and 38 inches must
be present for adults.
Handrails must also extend beyond the top and
bottom of a flight of stairs. While they
naturally have to be interrupted at each floor,
handrails must be closed off at each end to
prevent objects from catching on them and to
allow a hand continuous access to the railing so
people with walking difficulties are never
without needed support.
The quality of grip is another factor frequently
ignored by facility designers. Railings need to
be able to be securely grasped by a complete
range of hand sizes, and quickly, in the event of
a fall, so they cannot be too large or they will
not be easily gripped.
The recommended width range for railings is
between four and six and one-quarter inches in
diameter. If the grip area is too small it is
liable to put the hand in constant contact with
the railing supports underneath, meaning the hand
will need to be frequently off the rail in order
to move past each support. This increases the
chances of a fall.
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