When Should Handrails Be Used?
Handrails are physical rails that serve to be held onto as one moves along landings or surfaces that pose the risk of injury due to falls. A handrail is required on all platforms or walkways of any type when their height above the ground is at least 300 mm. On stairways, handrails must be placed on at least one side, and should continue throughout the full length of the stairway.
The Building codes of Australia (BCA) & the Australian standards states when a handrail needs to be used and in what circumstances. This relates to ramps as well as stairs. The disability Australian Standards codes are required in addition when disability access is needed to the premises.
The height of a proper handrail must range from 900 mm to 1100 mm, and should be consistent throughout the stairway, ramp, or landing.
When Should Balustrades or Barriers Be Used?
Balustrades or barriers are meant to prevent people from falling off stars, a ramp, a floor, a balcony, and the like. When areas are not bound by any wall and are more than 1000 mm (1m) above the lower level, a balustrade or a barrier is required.
The height of a balustrade or barrier must not be less than 1000 mm (1m) on walkways or landings. On staircases, they must have a minimum of 865 mm. On balustrades, the openings between balusters must not allow a 125 mm spherical object to pass through. For any platforms that are more than 4000 mm (4m) above the floor below, anything horizontal on the barrier or between balusters must be constructed in such a way that they will not be climbable.