In 1995, the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) made it mandatory for all establishments and service providers that are open to the public to take reasonable steps to provide access for disabled people.
Specifically, the Act states:
Where a physical feature makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled persons to make use of such a service, it is the duty of the provider of that service to take such steps as it is reasonable, in all the circumstances of the case, for him to have to take in order to:-
- Remove the feature;
- Alter it so that it no longer has that effect;
- Provide a reasonable means of avoiding the feature; or
- Provide a reasonable alternative method of making the service in question available to disabled persons
Half of all accidents involving falls within and around buildings occur on stairways. This risk can be greatly reduced by ensuring that any change in level incorporates basic precautions to guard against accident and falls.
Stairs and ramps should be constructed to be within limits recognised as offering safe and convenient passage and designed so that any person who is likely to use them can do so comfortably and safely, with the minimum amount of difficulty. Design should also address the issue of appropriate guarding, where a level change is made, and seek to eliminate any possible trip hazards.
There are many considerations to make when constructing access to a building. If steps, stairs or a ramp are required then you will need to take into account visibility, slip resistance and fall protection.
The visibility of steps or handrails is essential for ensuring the safety of partially sighted individuals. Stair nosings with contrasting colours can help to highlight rises and falls. Handrails should also contrast visually with their surroundings without being highly reflective.
To avoid slips and falls on stairs and ramps the surface should be taken into considerations. Providing anti-slip solutions can reduce the risks of falling.
This is where handrails and balustrades come into the equation. To avoid falls from height handrails provide a suitable barrier to prevent individuals from falling. There are lots of requirements of handrails to comply to DDA standards, these include:
- Smooth and continuous
Ensure that your railing has a smooth surface throughout the entire length of the railing. Someone should be able to easily run their hand along the entire railing.
- Correct Height & Clearance
Your railing must be 900mm-1.1m tall. Also, a ramp must have a minimum clear width of 1m. Vertical height to the top of the upper handrail from pitch line of the surface of a ramp. or flight of steps is between 900mm and 1000mm . The clearance between the handrail and any adjacent wall surface is between 60mm and 75mm.
- Edge protection
When there is a drop off , ramps require a curb or curb rail to prevent wheel chairs from slipping out from under the railing. In some cases a mid rail is sufficient to provide this protection
Post and handrail tubes need to be between 40-50mm in diameter. The handrail should be slip resistant and not cold to touch.
Our Stargard handrails are DDA compliant and have been installed on an array of projects across the UK to find out more warm to touch handrails click here. Alternatively if you would like more information about how we could help on your next project contact us today.