Most serious injuries caused by slips, trips, and falls can be associated with steps and stairways. As an employer or the person in charge with the management and control of your business, you have the legal responsibility to pay special attention to your staircase and keep it as safe as possible and free from any health risks.
Some of the steps to ensure your staircase is safe is to identify all potential hazards, eliminate or reduce those risks, and comply with the specific requirements for the construction of stairways, platforms, and landings. When building your place of business, your steps and stairs should comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA).
Here are more details on the legal requirements for stairways, guard rails and handrails, and stair designs:
According to the National Construction Code of Australia (NCC) 2019 Building Code of Australia (Volume One – Commercial Buildings), your stairway must not have more than 18 nor less than two risers in each flight.
It should have goings and risers that are constant throughout in one flight, which means it needs a variation between adjacent risers that are no greater than five millimetres and the largest and smallest riser within a flight that does not exceed ten millimetres. In addition, the risers with openings should allow a 125-millimetre sphere to pass through between the treads.
Meanwhile, the treads should have a surface or a nosing trip with a slip-resistance classification. They also must have solidly constructed treads if your stairway is more than ten-meters high or connects more than three storeys. If you have a Class 9b building, there should not be more than 36 risers in consecutive flights without a change in direction of at least 30 degrees.
2. Guard rails and handrails
Install BCA-compliant handrails and guard rails on your property to create a safe work environment. According to the Australian Standard, your stairways and stairway landing should have guard railing on their exposed side except when there is a fixed structure at a distance not greater than 100 millimetres from the stairway stile.
Ensure that the guard railing complies with the requirements. The top rail should be parallel to the floor or slope of a walkway at a vertical height of not less than 900 millimetres above the standing level of a walkway or platform.
Add a handrail on each side of the stairway if its width exceeds 1,000 millimetres. At least one handrail must be installed in every stairway, and it should have a smooth, continuous top surface throughout the length of each stairway flight. Make sure that there are no obstructions on or above them. Provide BCA-compliant balustrades when necessary.
3. Stair design
All rises and goings in the same flight of stairs should have uniform dimensions. Every rise must have a minimum of 130 millimetres and a maximum of 225 millimetres, while each going should have a minimum of 215 millimetres and a maximum of 355 millimetres.
A safe and well-designed workplace makes your employees healthy and happy. Make sure that your stairs comply with the Building Code and they are using the latest edition of the Australian Standard by working with a reliable builder and glass balustrade manufacturer.
Team up with us to make your workplace safe. We offer custom staircase manufacturers in Western Australia and Perth. Contact us today to find out more!