The Equality Act (or DDA) and what it means to your handrail?

We have had a fair amount of enquiries regarding the Equality Act over the last couple of days which has gotten me thinking, what is actually required or advised by the Equality Act and why?

The system must be between 900mm and 1100mm high -  I think this one is obvious, it is the standard height that a handrail must be for it to rest comfortably under your hand while offering support if required.

A mid-rail must be included – This is to assist young children and wheelchair users, where the top-rail may not be particularly helpful.

The system rail must be smooth and continuous – this is to assist those who are partially sighted, unable to see and wheelchair users, a break in the system may indicate an end to the handrail system and any stepping or rough change in the system could create a finger trap or snag point.

The system must be Offset from the upright post – again, this is to assist those with problems with sight and those in wheelchairs and is to prevent the possibility of rubbing your knuckles against an upright, post or wall.

The system must not be cold to touch – there is a misconception that this requirement is “warm to touch” this is incorrect, in the winter I challenge anyone to find a way to keep an outdoor, metal based handrail, warm, our polyester powder coating is designed to reflect the heat of the hand back, thus adhering to the “not cold to touch” requirement.

The rail must be a colour contrast to its surroundings – another obvious one, this is to assist the partial sighted to recognise that there is a handrail available.

The system must extend 300mm past the last step – This can either be the system itself, or a “D” return.

I hope this explanation will help some of you who are still a little hazy on some of the legislation! if you are still unsure, feel free to give us a call!

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