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A guide to handrails

As citizens, we tend to think of handrails as a convenience – they make it much easier for us to move around certain spaces, particularly crowded environments and those with lots of steps and staircases. In healthcare, however, handrails are much more than a convenience – they’re an essential safety tool that feeds into that most fundamental healthcare commitment: first, do no harm.

It’s essential that service users and staff alike are kept safe within healthcare environments and handrails are a key part of that strategy, preventing thousands of falls each year that might otherwise result in injury and huge associated costs due to loss of earnings, absenteeism and indemnity.

Like many essential elements of building infrastructure, handrails are governed by code requirements and fire regulations. The same handrail may not be suitable for all buildings for this, and a variety of other reasons. To make it easier for facilities to make the best choice, we’ve put together a brief guide to the type of handrail available at Belroc.

Bariatric handrails

Bariatric handrails are designed to support patients weighing up to 1,000lbs when installed as per the manufacturer’s guidelines, making hospital facilities accessible for a wider range of people and helping to prevent slip-fall injuries on key thoroughfares, especially in patient rooms or on routes from bed to bathroom.

Aluminum/stainless steel handrails

Metal handrails made from a combination of powder-coated aluminum rail and stainless steel brackets/returns are a sleek and highly durable option that are easy to maintain and have an attractive appearance. These handrails usually have a slim profile making it easy to get a good grip, making them the preferred option for high risk areas and bariatric wards. Powder coating the surface reduces thermal conductivity which helps prevent metal handrails from becoming very hot or cold depending on environmental conditions.

Vinyl handrails

Vinyl handrails normally have an aluminum core and steel brackets for strength and a vinyl outer cover that brings several key benefits. Vinyl is naturally non-conductive which means these rails are unaffected by extremes of heat and cold. They can be moulded to almost any profile, allowing facilities to select a shape that best suits their specific application, and they have some non-slip properties that can further improve safety. Vinyl is also highly durable with an excellent degree of impact resistance for long-lasting performance. It comes in an array of colours including faux wood finishes, which allows these rails to blend seamlessly into both clinical and non-clinical settings.

Dual purpose handrails

Dual-purpose handrails are designed to function as a handrail and a crash rail in one, offering additional wall protection for areas with passing bed, cart and foot traffic. They can be made from metal – usually a combination of aluminum and stainless steel for strength – or vinyl, usually with a steel and aluminium core structure. A wide variety of profiles are available and are usually selected depending on the facility or specific zone’s priorities – i.e. whether it’s more important to guard against wall protection, slip/fall injuries, or an equal combination of the two. Dual purpose rails are ideal for small or busy spaces where the presence of a separate hand rail and crash rail might create a cluttered look and feel.

Antimicrobial handrail

As the name suggest, antimicrobial handrails are designed to offer built-in protection against germs which can support your existing hygiene and infection control strategy. Our antimicrobial handrails are infused with Zinc Pyrithione at the manufacturing stage which means there’s no external coating to wear off, and ensures the material’s germ-killing properties are effective even if the surface of your handrail becomes scratched or damaged. This technology is only available on vinyl handrails.

To make an enquiry about handrail or to receive detailed information about the products we have available, email