Eileen's Blog

CHECK YOUR RAILINGS

June 11th, 2014 8:02 PM by Eileen Denhard

If you took all the people who were injured last year in falls related to railings, they would fill a large stadium. The injury rate is highest among children.

WHAT 

Check your railings.

WHEN 

During the summer.

WHY 

Each year, roughly 40,000 people in North America are treated for injuries related to handrails, railings and banisters. Approximately 1,200 die from these injuries                                            

HOW

First, ensure that existing railings are well secured and not deteriorated. This requires a visual examination for rust or rot, followed by a low-tech approach -- grab the railing and shake it. Be careful you don't fling yourself off the porch or deck by breaking the railing.

Secondly, make sure the railing will do what it's supposed to do -- keep people from falling off a deck or a porch and make it difficult for children to climb over or through the railing.

Building codes vary from region to region and the intent of this reminder is not to ensure that your railings comply with local codes (most older railings do not). We will however, tell you what modern codes are trying to accomplish, and you can assess how far off the mark your railings are.

Modern railings are usually 42 inches high if the deck or the porch is more than six feet off the ground. If the fall would be less than six feet, railing heights drop to 36 inches. On stairs leading up to decks or porches, railing heights are often 31 to 34 inches.

                                       

Modern railings have spindles spaced so that a ball with a four-inch diameter cannot be passed through the spindles. This is to ensure that toddlers cannot squeeze through or get their heads caught between the spindles.

The design of the spindles should not create a "ladder effect." In other words, the railing should not have horizontal components that can be easily climbed by a child.

                                 

TIPS

Flower boxes, benches and the like should not be placed against railings or fastened to railings. They make it easier for kids to climb.

  
  
 

Compliments of... Home Inspection by P.R.O.S.

Posted in:General
Posted by Eileen Denhard on June 11th, 2014 8:02 PM

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