Stair railing clearance?


Hi,
Does anyone know if there are OSHA requirements for the minimum clearance between a starway railing and the wall it is attached to? There are no local requirements in my area, and the only OSHA requirement I can find refers to a 3" clearance for a temporary stair railing. I need to install a railing in a fairly narrow stairway, and I would really like to make the clearance narrower if I can get away with it.
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Can I assume this is an industrial application? Does it have to be ADA compliant? In my house, there is 1 1/2" clearance and it is quite sufficient. I'm not sure of OSHA minimums and I don't have the book at home but I did find this:
Section 1926.1052 (Stairways) states: (c) Stairrails and handrails.
* * * (6) The height of handrails shall be not more than 37 inches (94 cm) nor less than 30 inches (76 cm) from the upper surface of the handrail to the surface of the tread, in line with the face of the riser at the forward edge of the tread. (7) When the top edge of a stair rail system also serves as a handrail, the height of the top edge shall be not more than 37 inches (94 cm) nor less than 36 inches (91.5 cm) from the upper surface of the stair rail system to the surface of the tread, in line with the face of the riser at the forward edge of the tread. [Emphasis added.] This states 3" but when you read the rest of it stating 1 1/2" is going to be the new standard. Note the 1978 date: OSHA Instruction STD 1-1.6 October 30, 1978 3. Background
a. The present Standard, 29 CFR 1910.23(e)(5)(iii), states in part: "The length of brackets shall be such as will give a clearance between handrail and wall or any projection thereon of at least 3 inches. " 29 CFR 1910.23(e)(6) states: "All handrails and railings shall be provided with a clearance of not less than 3 inches between the handrail or railing and any other object." b. The proposed changes to Walking-Working Surfaces, will allow all handrails and railings to have a clearance of at least one and one-half inches between the handrail or railing and any other object.
http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=DIRECTIVES&p_id 60
You will find some ADA information here http://www.collinsclubs.com/rcrv/ramp/rampguidelines.pdf
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| Hi, | | Does anyone know if there are OSHA requirements for the minimum | clearance between a starway railing and the wall it is attached to? | There are no local requirements in my area, and the only OSHA | requirement I can find refers to a 3" clearance for a temporary stair | railing. I need to install a railing in a fairly narrow stairway, and | I would really like to make the clearance narrower if I can get away | with it.
Handrails adjacent to a wall shall have a space of not less than 1 inches (38 mm) between the wall and the handrail.
Stairway handrails shall have a circular cross section with an outside diameter of at least 1 inches and not greater than two inches.
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Sometimes there is no space at all, or not enough to get my fingers in, and I hate that.

"Circular" seems to exclude a lot of pretty bannisters. Isn't a bannister a kind of handrail? Even a lot of handrails don't have circular cross sections. Does some code not permit them to be installed anymore?
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The ADA does not permit them, but under some circumstances, OSHA does. I don't know about residential as codes can vary locally.
A couple of weeks ago I was in Italy and we stopped at a fairly new shopping center, less than a year old. We went down some outdoor concrete steps that were between two walls. There was no handrail at all. In the US, it would not have been allowed to open.
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wrote:

The last version of the ADA regs I looked at had a fairly long list of specifications that seems to have been designed to make you toss up your hands and go with a length of galvanized pipe, but it doesn't actually require a circular ccross section.
4.26.2 talks about "equivilent gripping surface", which looks like a good way to get into an argument with your inspector.
The bit in 4.9.2 is far more restrictive, and makes me glad that normal residential stairs don't have to be ADA compliant.

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On 15 Apr 2007 16:24:37 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Well, it's not OSHA, but the ADA specification is 1.5" clearance between the wall and the inner surface of the rail. If the two standards are different, which one wins?
http://www.ada.gov/reg3a.html#Anchor-17104
Well... here:
4.9.4 Handrails. Stairways shall have handrails at both sides of all stairs. Handrails shall comply with 4.26 and shall have the following features: (1) Handrails shall be continuous along both sides of stairs. The inside handrail on switchback or dogleg stairs shall always be continuous (see Fig. 19(a) and (b)). (2) If handrails are not continuous, they shall extend at least 12 in (305 mm) beyond the top riser and at least 12 in (305 mm) plus the width of one tread beyond the bottom riser. At the top, the extension shall be parallel with the floor or ground surface. At the bottom, the handrail shall continue to slope for a distance of the width of one tread from the bottom riser; the remainder of the extension shall be horizontal (see Fig. 19(c) and (d)). Handrail extensions shall comply with 4.4. (3) The clear space between handrails and wall shall be 1-1/2 in (38 mm). (4) Gripping surfaces shall be uninterrupted by newel posts, other construction elements, or obstructions. (5) Top of handrail gripping surface shall be mounted between 34 in and 38 in (865 mm and 965 mm) above stair nosings. (6) Ends of handrails shall be either rounded or returned smoothly to floor, wall or post. (7) Handrails shall not rotate within their fittings.
. . . .
and:
4.26 Handrails, Grab Bars, and Tub and Shower Seats. 4.26.1* General. All handrails, grab bars, and tub and shower seats required to be accessible by 4.1, 4.8, 4.9, 4.16, 4.17, 4.20 or 4.21 shall comply with 4.26. 4.26.2* Size and Spacing of Grab Bars and Handrails. The diameter or width of the gripping surfaces of a handrail or grab bar shall be 1-1/4 in to 1-1/2 in (32 mm to 38 mm), or the shape shall provide an equivalent gripping surface. If handrails or grab bars are mounted adjacent to a wall, the space between the wall and the grab bar shall be 1-1/2 in (38 mm) (see Fig. 39(a), (b), (c), and (e)). Handrails may be located in a recess if the recess is a maximum of 3 in (75 mm) deep and extends at least 18 in (455 mm) above the top of the rail (see Fig. 39(d)). 4.26.3 Structural Strength. The structural strength of grab bars, tub and shower seats, fasteners, and mounting devices shall meet the following specification: (1) Bending stress in a grab bar or seat induced by the maximum bending moment from the application of 250 lbf (1112N) shall be less than the allowable stress for the material of the grab bar or seat. (2) Shear stress induced in a grab bar or seat by the application of 250 lbf (1112N) shall be less than the allowable shear stress for the material of the grab bar or seat. If the connection between the grab bar or seat and its mounting bracket or other support is considered to be fully restrained, then direct and torsional shear stresses shall be totaled for the combined shear stress, which shall not exceed the allowable shear stress. (3) Shear force induced in a fastener or mounting device from the application of 250 lbf (1112N) shall be less than the allowable lateral load of either the fastener or mounting device or the supporting structure, whichever is the smaller allowable load. (4) Tensile force induced in a fastener by a direct tension force of 250 lbf (1112N) plus the maximum moment from the application of 250 lbf (1112N) shall be less than the allowable withdrawal load between the fastener and the supporting structure. (5) Grab bars shall not rotate within their fittings. 4.26.4 Eliminating Hazards. A handrail or grab bar and any wall or other surface adjacent to it shall be free of any sharp or abrasive elements. Edges shall have a minimum radius of 1/8 in (3.2 mm).
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