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UPDATE: THIS FILE LAST EDITED 2-2011

SAFETY

HANDRAILS

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A PUBLICATION FROM THE...

SIGHT LOSS

INFORMATION

DETECTIVE

.....ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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SHOULD THE READER WANT TO SUGGEST ANY ADDITIONS OR CORRECTIONS FOR THIS BULLETIN, PLEASE SEND YOUR IDEAS - GO TO LINK, SEND A MESSAGE, NEAR THE TOP OF THIS WEBPAGE.

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NOTE: THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED AS AN ENDORSEMENT OR RECOMMENDATION, AND IS PRESENTED SIMPLY AS A CONVENIENCE TO THE READER. BECAUSE OF THE CHANGING AVAILABILITY OF PRODUCTS AND SERVICES, THE COMPLETENESS OF THIS LISTING IS NOT GUARANTEED.

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WHILE CERTAIN SITUATIONS OR CONDITIONS MAY CALL FOR A GOOD-QUALITY PERSONAL GUARDRAIL, THE MOST IMPORTANT APPLICATION FOR A SAFETY RAILING IS ON ANY STAIRWAY.

ESPECIALLY FOR OLDER VISION LOSS INDIVIDUALS, TAKING SPECIAL CARE IS ALWAYS NEEDED WHEN USING ANY SHORT, NORMAL OR LONG FLIGHT OF STAIRS. PLUS, A PROFESSIONALLY-INSTALLED, ADA-APPROVED STAIRS HANDRAIL IS A GOOD FIT FOR AGING-IN-PLACE PROJECTS.

HOWEVER, BEST PRACTICES FOR ACCESSIBLE DESIGN ARE NOT ALWAYS FOLLOWED WHEN HOME OR APARTMENT INDOOR STAIR STEPS ARE CONSTRUCTED.

SPECIFICALLY, SOMETIMES STAIR TREADS ARE TOO SHORT WITH RISERS WHICH ARE TOO TALL CREATING A VERY STEEP AND UNSAFE STAIRWAY WHICH DEMANDS A PROPER HANDRAIL FOR EXPECTED SAFE USAGE.

FOLLOWING ARE SOME COMMON SENSE SAFETY HANDRAIL AND STAIR IDEAS...

1. USE BAKED-ON, NO-SLIP AND NON-SCRATCH FINISH

2. USE RAIL COLOR HIGH-CONTRAST TO WALL COLOR

3. USE NO-SNAG RAIL WALL RETURNS AT BOTH ENDS

4. MAINTAIN SAFE FINGER SPACE BY WALLS AND BRACKETS

5. USE HIGH-TRACTION CARPET FOR ALL STEPS

6. USE CONTRASTING CARPET COLOR FOR LANDINGS

7. USE LOW-VISION APPROVED ILLUMINATION

8. USE $ 600 TO $ 800 ESTIMATE FOR FLOOR-TO-FLOOR, ADA-APPROVED METAL PIPE (NOT METAL TUBING) RAILING INSTALLATION

CAUTION:

THE HAND FRIENDLINESS OF A HANDRAIL DEPENDS ALMOST ENTIRELY ON THE WALL BRACKETS. IN FACT, HOW THE BRACKETS ATTACH TO THE UNDERSIDE OF THE RAIL DETERMINES IF CLOSED HAND SLIDING OF THE ENTIRE RAIL LENGTH WILL OR WILL NOT BE OBSTRUCTED.

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READ ON FOR RELATED SPECIFIC AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT HANDRAIL GUIDELINES WHICH WERE TRANSCRIBED FROM WWW DOT ADA DOT GOV:

RAIL SPECS - 4.9.4 HANDRAILS

Stairways shall have handrails at both sides of all stairs. Handrails shall comply with 4.26 and shall have the following features:

1) Handrails shall be continuous along both sides of stairs. The inside handrail on switchback or dogleg stairs shall always be continuous see figure 19 (a and b).

2) If handrails are not continuous they shall extend at least 12 in 305 (mm) beyond the top riser and at least 12 in 305 (mm) plus a width of one tread beyond the bottom riser. At the top the extension shall be parallel with the floor or ground surface. At the bottom the handrail shall continue to slope for a distance of the width of one tread from the bottom riser; the remainder of the extension shall be horizontal see figure 19 (c and d). Handrail extensions shall comply with 4.4.

3) The clear space between handrails and walls shall be 1-1/2 in 38 (mm).

4) Gripping surfaces shall be uninterrupted by any newel posts, other construction elements or obstructions.

5) Top of handrail gripping surface shall be mounted between 34 in and 38 in 865 (mm) and 965 (mm) above stair nosings.

6) Ends of handrails shall be either rounded or returned smoothly to floor, wall or post.

7) Handrails shall not rotate within their fittings.

NOTE: RESIDENTIAL HANDRAILS MAY NOT BE NECESSARY ON BOTH SIDES OF STAIRWAY

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