As a general rule, any unprotected walkway edge, platform, roof edge, staircase, or other raised area from which a person may fall, must be fitted with handrails.
Slips, trips and falls are the most common cause of injury in the workplace, according to statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). In fact, over 29% of workplace injuries are the result of slips, trips and falls. While falls from a height account for 7%.
In severe cases, falls could even result in death. During the year 2016/17 alone, 25 workers died as a result of falling from a height.
Such instances cost employers £512m a year through lost production and other costs.
To help prevent falls at work and at height, it is vital that your workplace has the right handrails installed.
Why consider installing handrails?
Handrails are an effective means of preventing serious injury. They offer protection and security to employees working on any kind of raised platform.
Where loading access is required for a mezzanine floor, or for protection across openings at the head of stairs or ladders, we would recommend gates of tubular construction. These can be made to match the design of the adjoining handrails.
One of the most common factors that contribute to the high number of falls on staircases is the neglection of handrails. These kinds of falls are usually the result of loss of balance. The primary function of a handrail is to provide support when ascending or descending stairs. When an individual loses their balance, they instinctively reach out to grab something to steady themselves.
Handrails can help an individual to steady themselves in the event of a trip or fall. If an individual does slip or fall on a stair and is unable to steady themselves, the handrail can be used to prevent them from sustaining a more serious injury.
Legal requirements for handrails in the workplace
As an employer, it is your duty to care for those working for you and under UK legislation, handrails must be provided.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations Act 1992, requires handrails to be provided on staircases in the workplace. However, there are several factors to take into consideration. After all, handrails need to be in the right place, at the right height to stop loss of balance from turning into a serious fall.
If a staircase is over 1000mm wide should have handrails on both sides of the stairs. Any flights over 2m wide should have a divide.
The rail should be positioned at a height of 900mm above the floor, and at 1100mm on the level.
It is also important that a handrail allows for a firm grip while not being too hot or cold to the touch. Which is why GRP or a metal with a relatively low thermal conductivity, such as aluminium, is best.
At Kite Group Ltd we provide all elements of handrail systems, from rail tubes to key clamp fittings and gates. All of our handrail components and designs comply with the relevant British Standards. Our handrail products are available in mild steel, stainless steel GRP and aluminium. Shop the full range of handrails available online today.