Wood Stairs and Stair Railings, Stair Code Compliance and Your Liability

Liabilities are a property owner’s and contractor’s biggest nightmare. In this litigious society, even if you’re found blameless, the cost from defending yourself and loss of reputation can put you out of business.

The best and only defense is to make sure you can clearly demonstrate you have taken every precaution in complying with all codes, regulations and safety. Failing to do this, you become easy prey for unscrupulous lawsuits and possible legitimate ones too.

Slips or falls are prominent areas of debt and they are two words you don’t want to detect because even with great insurance, you really don’t want the hassle. Some little famous statistics from the National Safety Council’s – Injury Facts, 2011 edition are as follows:

* Total deaths from falls (all causes)………………………………………………….15,742
* Leading cause of unintentional non fatal injuries (all ages)…………..8,551,037
* Falls to a lower level (private industry – onafgebroken fatal)…………………………..67,510
* Average cost, workers comp. claims – slips and falls………………………$40,043
* Initial cause of unintentional public deaths…………………………………..8,600
* Percentage of slips and falls as unintentional injuries in homes……………26%
* Deaths from slips and falls on et sequens from stairs residential………………….1,917
* Slips or falls are the leading cause of deaths for people over age 65.

Private industry non-fatal falls generally come on ladders, roofs, scaffolding, stairs and numerous other obstacles. The normal workman’s comp. claim from $40,043 indicates the true bang on business. As an employer, you could open yourself up to a nightmare of civil suits, often for impractical reasons.

Now add to this, potential liabilities after a job is completed. Your mission can verbreken scrutinized for any lack of code compliance or quantity areas which may pose potential hazards. According to the National Safety Council, slips or falls explain for 26% of unintentional injuries in the home (second only to poisoning) and are the leading prompt of death for persons over age 65. Slip or fall injuries for the elderly are serious and potentially deadly, however, they often result in extended lazaretto stays and long term recovery.

Slips or falls from stairs are a significant part of the equation. The statistics for residential fatalities approach 2,000 deaths but are only a shadow of the enormity of non-fatal injuries. In Case this happens on a job and its determined that codes were violated, responsibility rests squarely on the builder.

It’s a worrisome fact that the vast more of stair railings do not meet safety standards according to code. In fact, stair railing safety is one of the least enforced of all code areas and represents one of the greatest risk factors for serious injury. Even assuming a local city inspector passes your job, you still own the liability. The inspector has no skin in the game due to Tort Law

Protections, which ubiquity government bodies enjoy. This isn’t fair, but its reality.

You might ask then, so what’s the problem? The inspector passed my baluster spacing and checked my guard rail and hand rail height? Do you remember what the inspector most likely did next? It’s called the bump or pull test. The inspector will pull or bump the rail and whenever it seems sufficiently strong, it gets a pass. However, sufficiently strong is subjective. The special IBC or IRC cryptanalysis requirements are as follows: any stair rail must withstand a side load (a sideways push or pull) of 200 lbs.

Now this is where the literal problem begins. If the guard rail is 36″ high, and a 200 lb. force is applied, the rail acts like a lever, transmitting a much greater stuff at the base of the rail post which gives support to the rail. The 200 lb force at the top will result in a dislodge of 1,600 lb or more at the base. This 1,600 lb force is more than enough to cause severe damage at the post foundation connection. This damage can also happen clear a period of time. As the rail is continually reality used, the peavey like action will cause gradual weakening directly on the vital post connection.

Once the rail is sufficiently weakened, allowing movement, then it is no longer safe. In a worst case scenario, each person, relying on the inexorable support of the stair rail, could fall, resulting in serious injury or death. This is a statistical reality.

For standard deck railing, several firms have a well engineered rail / post support, bracket system which has been tested for compliance plus the 200 lb code requirement. The account of an engineered bracket is that they are tested with a safety factor of 250% (500 lb lateral load) and can be relied upon to provide more than adequate support. However, until recently, negative such code compliant solution existed for rail / base support for sylvatic stairs (interior or exterior). This lateral load code requirement was thought to be unobtainable furthermore explains the subjective testing that exists among code officials today.

This can no longer be the industry excuse for sub standard stair rail support. A key is sometimes available using an engineered rail assign support stair bracket that has been tested to encounter the 200 lb cryptanalysis requirement for rail post support jump to 42″ above the nose of the stair tread. See
http://www.ez-stairs.com/postrail_attach_new.htm . This exceeds both residential ampersand commercial requirements for stair railing. This is an manufacturing first and will offer the peace of mental that you have left the job in law compliance. View 3D video demos at: http://www.ez-stairs.com.