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Handrail Continuity

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By Mark Reed
Estimated 2 minute read

Handrail continuity is the concept of making the handrails long without breaks or other interference to enhance the safety of the users. This standard means that users have a safe and continuous handrail from one end of the stairway to the other: this is especially useful for those with mobility problems or during an emergency.

Integral handrails that do not have gaps are paramount in areas of human traffic, especially around stairs, to ensure people have something to hold on to as they ascend or descend the flight of stairs. The absence of interruption reduces the chances of accidents and improves the overall safety of the staircase.


Key Benefits:

  • Safety: Provides a continuous handhold for stability and support.
  • Accessibility: Ensures usability for individuals with mobility issues.
  • Compliance: Meets building code requirements for handrail design.


  • Residential staircases
  • Commercial and public buildings
  • Industrial settings with stairs
Q: What is handrail continuity in staircase design? 

A: Handrail continuity refers to the requirement for handrails to be continuous without interruption by newel posts or other obstructions, ensuring user safety.


OSHA Compliance for Handrail Continuity

OSHA compliance has more specific requirements for the design of handrails, one of the requirements being continuity. Essential OSHA guidelines for handrail continuity include:

  • Design: Ensure the handrails remain unbroken along the span without the intrusion of newel posts or any other interfering projections. This allows users to maintain a firm grip for the full length of the stairway.
  • Height: Fix handrails at a consistent height to allow users to use them comfortably and safely.
  • Grip: Ensure handrails have a smooth texture or grooves to facilitate a secure grasp.
  • Inspection: Inspect handrails often to ensure that they remain firmly in place and unobstructed and do not threaten people’s safety.

Complying with these guidelines can minimize risks and promote the safe use of residential and commercial structures.

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