handrilWhen staircases are present on the external of a building, perhaps to get to the front door or to traverse to other levels, it is of the utmost importance that you also have a handrail fitted. These rails form a protective barrier that prevents users for falling or tripping over the edge and they provide some much needed support for those who have difficulty walking up and down steps.

Over the years, a number of studies have been conducted that have shown that a properly installed handrail for stairs can play a significant role in reducing the number of injuries that are experienced. Safety officials have even suggested that builders narrow their stairways so that all users have access to and are encouraged to use the rails, although this is not always possible.

These days, outdoor handrails can be constructed out of many materials, the most popular being: wrought iron, stainless steel, aluminium, timber, vinyl, glass and even precious metals like brass. The rail often must be extended both above and below the stairs and it must not pose the risk of snagging the clothing of users. When bordering the edge of a deck or precipice, the rail should be fitted with a solid half wall or balustrading for added safety.

There are a number of occupational health & safety regulations, not to mention council laws, in place that outline how an outdoor handrail should be placed. It should, for example, be placed between 34 and 36 inches above the ground and the posts should be no more than 8 feet apart. If the rail is against a wall, there should be a 1 and a half inch gap to allow for adequate finger room and it should run in a continuous length with no gaps.

Whilst it is common knowledge that outdoor handrails for stairs are highly useful in conforming to laws or regulations and preventing serious accidents, are there any other associated benefits? The main one is that they are able to make outdoor areas much more safe and user friendly, especially for the elderly, young children and those with a physical disability.