(3) Handrails and guards. (aka Guard rails)
1. A flight of stairs with more than 3 risers shall be provided with at least one handrail for the full length of the flight.
2. Guards shall be provided on all open sides of stairs consisting of more than 3 risers and on all open sides of areas that are elevated more than 24 inches above the floor or exterior grade.
Note: A handrail provided at 30 to 38 inches above the tread nosing meets the height requirement for a guard on a stairway.
3. a. Except as provided in subd. 3. b., guards shall be constructed to prevent the through-passage of a sphere with a diameter of 4 3/8 inches, when applying a force of 4 pounds.
b. The triangular area formed by the tread, riser and bottom rail shall have an opening size that prevents the through-passage of a sphere with a diameter of 6 inches, when applying a force of 4 pounds.
c. Rope, cable, or similar materials used in guard infill shall be strung with maximum openings of 3 1/2 inches with vertical supports a maximum of 4 feet apart.
Note: In some cases, the vertical supports could be simple cable stays that offer vertical support to the rope or cable span. Structural posts must be supplied to provide the rail with the minimum 200 pound load resistance, as well as to resist the tensile loads exerted by the tightened rope or cable.
4. a. Handrails and guards shall be designed and constructed to withstand a 200 pound load applied in any direction.
b. Handrail or guard infill components, balusters and panel fillers shall withstand a horizontally applied perpendicular load of 50 pounds on any one-foot-square area.
c. Glazing used in handrail or guard assemblies shall be safety glazing.
5. Exterior handrails and guards shall be constructed of metal, decay resistant or pressure-treated wood, or shall be protected from the weather.
a. Handrails shall be located at least 30 inches, but no more than 38 inches above the nosing of the treads, except as provided in subds. 1. b. to d. Measurement shall be taken from the hard structural surface beneath any finish material to the top of the rail. Variations in uniformity are allowed only when a rail contacts a wall or newel post or where a turnout or volute is provided at the bottom tread.
b. A volute, turnout, or starting easing that does not comply with subd. 1. a. may extend over the lowest tread.
c. Transition fittings on handrails may extend above the 38-inch height limit.
d. Where handrail fittings or bendings are used to provide a continuous transition between flights, or at winder treads, or from a handrail to a guard, or at the start of a flight, the height at the fittings or bendings may exceed 38 inches.
2. `Clearance.' The clearance between a handrail and the wall surface shall be at least 1 1/2 inches.
a. Except as provided under subd. 3. b., the required handrail on winder stairs shall be placed on the side where the treads are wider.
b. Where all winder treads in a flight have a depth of at least 9 inches from nosing to nosing measured at a point 12 inches from the narrow end of the tread, the required handrail may be located on either side of the stairway.
4. `Projection.' Handrails and associated trim may project into the required width of stairs and landings a maximum of 4 1/2 inches on each side.
5. `Size and configuration.' Handrails shall be symmetrical about the vertical centerline to allow for equal wraparound of the thumb and fingers.
a. Handrails with a round or truncated round cross sectional gripping surface shall have a maximum whole diameter of 2 inches.
b. Handrails with a rectangular cross sectional gripping surface shall have a maximum perimeter of 6 1/4 inches with a maximum cross sectional dimension of 2 7/8 inches.
c. Handrails with other cross sections shall have a maximum cross sectional dimension of the gripping surface of 2 7/8 inches with a maximum linear gripping surface measurement of 6 1/4 inches and a minimum linear gripping surface of 4 inches.
Note: See ch. SPS 325 Appendix A for further information on handrail measurement.
6. `Continuity.' Handrails shall be continuous for the entire length of the stairs except in any one of the following cases:
a. A handrail may be discontinuous at an intermediate landing.
b. A handrail may have newel posts.
c. A handrail may terminate at an intermediate wall provided the lower end of the upper rail is returned to the wall or provided with a flared end, t
a. All openings between floors, and open sides of landings, platforms, balconies or porches that are more than 24 inches above grade or a floor shall be protected with guards.
b. The requirements under subd. 1. a. apply where insect screens are the only means of enclosure or protection for a surface that is more than 24 inches above grade or a floor.
c. For exterior applications, the 24 inch vertical measurement shall be taken from the lowest point within 3 feet horizontally from the edge of the deck, landing, porch or similar structure.
d. This paragraph does not apply to window wells, egress wells, and retaining walls.
2. `Height.' Guards shall extend to at least 36 inches above the floor or to the underside of a stair handrail complying with s. SPS 321.04 (3) (b). Measurement shall be taken from the hard structural surface beneath any finish material to the top of the guard.
3. `Opening size.' Guards shall be constructed to prevent the through-passage of a sphere with a diameter of 4 3/8 inches, when applying a force of 4 pounds.