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Industrial handrails need not be ugly: 3 examples

Jun 23, 2020, 20:05 PM by User Not Found

Industrial handrails need not be ugly: 3 examples

Handrails are a basic and vital part of workplace safety. These supporting features protect workers from potentially dangerous or even lethal falls as they move across stairs and walkways above ground level. A handrail helps to prevent accidental movement off of the elevated surface and provides an easily graspable support for increased stability.

Australian Standards related to industrial and other handrails offer detailed rules for height, placement, configuration and similar concerns. Companies need to make sure they follow these regulations, both to avoid issues with non-compliance like fines and other penalties, as well as to keep employees as safe as possible while on the job.

Design and aesthetics of handrails: A secondary but valuable concern

It's no surprise that handrails are about safety, first and foremost. The continued and reliable function of this type of safety feature iss by far the most important concern for businesses that operate facilities where handrails are needed. However, the discussion of handrails doesn't have to stop when all safety concerns are effectively addressed.

Aesthetics and design are important considerations for all elements of any type of building. That includes factories, industrial facilities and similar structures. An eye-pleasing and cohesive visual identity is simply better than the alternative. As long as the handrails installed in a building - or outside of it! - align with safety regulations, shape, colour and similar factors can also be taken into account.

We point to this fact in our headline: Industrial handrails need not be ugly. While they prioritise function over form, and for good reason, form can still be part of the discussion. Consider these examples of visually pleasing handrails as you and your team begin making plans for your new building or renovation of an existing one.

A handrail on a bike and pedestrian path.Handrails can blend into many different areas, especially when staff and others encounter them on a daily basis.

Example No. 1: Blending in

In most cases, industrial handrails are not a focal point in the overall design of a structure. This safety feature is there to do a job, not to provide an artistic flourish. Installing rails that either blend in with the surrounding space or at least don't stick out like a sore thumb is an effective option.

In general, people - whether workers, guests, customers or others who happen to visit your facility - understand the purpose and value of handrails. They're not something intensely scrutinised by anyone besides health and safety representatives and those with an incredibly deep interest in buildings and aesthetics.

Even in situations where safety handrails aren't in direct contact with another surface or structure made of the same material and with the same finish and overall appearance, they don't necessarily stick out. This is clear in the above photo, where a handrail separates a grassy slope from the paved walking and biking path. While certainly visible, the eye isn't drawn to the handrail above all else. Of course, handrails will blend into the background as time goes on and the people in a given space get used to their presence. Because this doesn't reduce their effectiveness as safety feature, it's a useful solution.

Handrails at the end of a pier.These curved handrails have a subtle but noticeable similarity to the water that flows underneath and beyond them.

Example No. 2: Aligning shape, form and environment

There isn't one single type of industrial handrail that must be used in all cases. While compliance with safety regulations must be addressed before any other needs, your company can still select the type of railing that best aligns with the environment in which it will stand for years to come.

This example offers a connection of sorts between the railing itself and the surrounding environment. The handrails align in an understated but notable way with the water surrounding the dock. The use of curved corners and edges, instead of sharp angles,  is similar to the shape of the water surrounding the area as it flows in and out. This simple choice has brought the handrails closer to the environment in which they're placed.

Handrails on a staircase landing.Handrails with a finish matching the underlying walkway and stairs have a more cohesive visual identity.

Example No. 3: Matching finishes

Industrial handrails can seem like a more natural extension of a structure like a staircase or walkway when matching or similar finishes are used. This sense of visual unity is not something most people interacting with the space will consciously notice, but it goes a long way toward a pleasing aesthetic. This can be as simple as plating metal handrails with the same finish as the stairs and walkways they're attached to, or painting both rails and surfaces with the same colour of paint.

Meeting your industrial handrail needs

No matter where you need to place industrial handrails, nor what sort of approach you use to better integrate them with the surrounding building or environment, your organisation needs to know those rails will fulfil their purpose of increasing safety and reducing risk. Check out Webforge's Monowills™ Tubular Handrail & Stanchion Systems to see the many options available.

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