Focus: Fire-Life Safety / Column

Regulations, Codes & Standards Q&A: Handrails

By Brad Keyes / Special to Healthcare Facilities Today
October 30, 2019

Q: We are installing new handrails and I assumed they would extend a couple of inches from the wall for gripping purposes. However, my maintenance man ordered the flush mount type and while they look awesome, I was wondering if this will pose a problem per regulations? They are about 5 inches wide and extend about one inch from the wall. Is this okay? We are a skilled nursing facility located in North Carolina.

A: It depends where they are located… In a stairwell? On a ramp? In the corridor?

If it is a required handrail (such as for stairs or ramp) then section of the 2012 LSC requires the handrails to have a clearance of at least 2¼ inches from the wall. Sounds like you need to add some spacers to extend the handrail out away from the wall.

Brad Keyes, CHSP, is the owner of KEYES Life Safety Compliance, and his expertise is in the management of the Life Safety Program, including the Environment of Care and Emergency Management programs.


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