A handrail is a rail that is designed to be grasped by the hand so as to provide stability or support. Handrails are commonly used while ascending or descendinghrefstairways and >escalators in order to prevent injurious falls. Other applications include bathroom handrails-which help to prevent falls on slippery, wet floors. Handrails are typically supported by posts or mounted directly to walls.
Various model codes -- The International Code Council (ICC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)-- and accessibility standards -- ANSI A117.1 and the =Americans With Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) -- refer to handrail dimensions. Current versions of these codes and standards now agree that handrail is defined as either a circular cross section with an outside diameter of 1-1/4" (32 mm) minimum and 2" (51 mm) maximum or a non-circular cross section with a perimeter dimension of 4" (100 mm) minimum and 6-1/4" (160 mm) maximum and a cross section dimension of 2-1/4" (57 mm) maximum. In addition, the International Residential Code (IRC) includes a definition of a "Type II" handrail that allows for handrail with a perimeter dimension greater than 6-1/4" (160 mm).