Ramp Safety & Precautions
Ramps and Incline Walkers
Ramps, like stairways, are covered by the building code so that minimum safety standards can be applied. In this way, injury due to defective ramps can be minimized. For people injured due to a defective ramp, a building code analysis should be reviewed to determine whether minimum safety requirements were adhered to by the property owner.
Ramps are preferred over stairways when the challenge of elevation is relatively small or when demographics require the vertical change of elevation be avoided. Ramps for handicap access are now required by code throughout the country.
If a ramp is too steep, the safety gained is replaced by a significant slipping and balance hazard. All codes require that the maximum slope of a ramp does not exceed one foot vertical for eight feet horizontal (12.5%) under any circumstances. Greater restrictions apply when the ramp is part of a required exit or is considered to be a handicapped access ramp. Under these conditions the ramp may not exceed 8.5% slope (one foot in twelve). In all cases, handrails are required on each side of the ramp when the slope exceeds one foot in fifteen (6.7%).
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