Elevator handrail hardware is supposed to be sturdy and resistant to corrosion and be able to match the functional, modular, and flexible design elements of your elevator architecture. Elevator handrails are not required by the ADA but they do add support to your design and show that your organization is thoughtful and sensitive to people with disabilities.
Why Install Handrails in your Elevator Cabs
Handrails offer support in lieu of seating arrangements for the elderly, pregnant women, those with back injuries, and so on. When elevator wall panels are made of glass, or you simply want to avoid damage to the interiors, installing a handrail can act as a barrier between heavy loads, transport dollies, machinery, etc, thus extending the life of the cab’s inner surfaces. Many elevator designers, today, consider handrails to be an essential part of elevator cab design.
But to fulfil their purpose of enhancing the safety of passengers, handrails need to be designed in a way that they remain steady within their guides, even when heavy loads are placed against them. Not just their construction and material, but their placement within the elevator cab matters to their functionality.
Handrail maintenance is also an essential maintenance responsibility for elevator cab companies.
Elevator Handrail Codes
As mentioned before, the American Disabilities Act does not mandate handrails as an essential accessibility item for elevator cabs. But the 521 Massachusetts Regulation, Section 28.7.2, says that handrails must be located on at least one wall in every elevator. Further, the rails should be placed between 32 and 36 inches above the floor of the elevator car, and should be at a distance of one-and-a-half inches from the wall.
Other codes require that the handrail be located on the wall opposite to the car operating panel. The ends of the rail must be projecting and the parts that are so projected must be closed (without sharp edges) and be turned to face the wall.
ASME A17.1: When glass is a part of the interior wall, it should be placed opposite to the control panel. Moreover, if the glass panels are greater than 12 inches wide, handrails must be provided to prevent passengers from pressing directly against the glass.
Elevator maintenance services necessarily cover inspection of cracks in the welding or loose parts in the handrails.
Stainless steel construction, for both the fixings and rails, is often recommended as steel is easy to clean and does not harbour bugs or get infested. Steel also prevents the accumulation of dust and does not cause allergic reactions.
However, functional aluminium or copper handrail hardware is also available. When installing such parts, ensure that the paint or cladding over the rails do not emit harmful chemicals. The Greenguard Environmental Institute certification is one way of ensuring this.
PVC is also a material that could supply elevator cab designs that are meant for economical, easy cleaning and maintenance. They also make for sturdy supports to prevent slips and falls.
Bronze or wood veneers, when polished and painted, also make for very artistic finishes on handrails.
As per elevator safety standard, EN81-71 Cat. 1, handrails need to be fixed in such a manner that it’s not possible to open them from inside the car.
When installing handrails, good elevator maintenance technicians not only secure them through the wall panels, but also through the cab shell as well to ensure that the handrails are tightly secured to the wall.
Want to see how handrails can change the appearance of elevator cab interiors? Check out these stunning examples.