The “Corridor of Death”

The “corridor of death” refers to the dangerous, often narrow passageway where stairs lead to another room opening. When constructing a residential home, many builders have differing opinions of when and if it’s required to install handrails during the construction phase. A corridor with a steep stairway in a pre-construction home without railings can cause serious risk! That could lead to injury or death for workers or persons entering the construction site.

The Misconception

When talking about stairways in a residential home, the International Residential Code (IRC) and the International Building Code (IBC) have defined stairway standards intended to keep people safe. IRC has a clear handrail standard (R311.7.8) that states,

“Each flight of stairs having four or more risers must be provided with handrails on not less than one side.”

However, the IRC fails to mention when a handrail must be installed. Because the IRC focuses on the completed building requirements of residential buildings, instead of commercial. This leads to the common misconception that there is no standard that covers pre-construction handrail requirements. So are there actually any rules or regulations around these types of scenarios during pre-construction?

The Regulations 

That’s a great question, and thankfully Onsite Safety has the answer to all of your compliance-related questions like this one. OSHA has a specific construction standard that covers exactly this scenario. (OSHA 1926.1052(a)) OSHA follows a similar suit with the IRC and states,

“stairways having four or more risers or rising more than 30 inches, whichever is less, shall be equipped with: At least one handrail; and one stair rail system along each unprotected side or edge.”

This OSHA standard focuses on ensuring the safety of workers, which covers the pre-construction phases of a residential build. Although not clearly stated within this standard, OSHA implies that this safety measure takes place as soon as physically possible; to comply. Meaning no work shall be conducted that requires personnel to use a stairway; without the properly installed handrails.

Importance of Proper Training

Site supervisors and upper management leaders should always be ready with the correct information, especially when it comes to the safety of their workers, clients, and subcontractors. We know that OSHA compliance training can sound like an overwhelming task, but Onsite Safety can assist you and your team!

Let us take on your responsibility. – Call us today! – (800) 393-0980

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