Other codes address "rail post support" safety. A rail post per code regulations is required to support a lateral load of 200 lbs. This is a poorly enforced area of the code and with many inspectors content with the bump test. If it doesn’t move too much when they bump it with their hip, the rail will pass inspection. Many rail posts are simply lagged or nailed to the rim joists and post which are mounted directly to the deck surface will simply not meet code. The tragedy is, there are systems available on the market that correctly address this problem. Simpson, USP and Deck-Loc have brackets which will meet code for rim joist attachment but there’s only one adjustable bracket system (discussed below) which will meet code for wood or composite stairs.
Attention is now being given to the ability of the vertical post’s strength when hit by various degrees of lateral thrust pressure. These new directives, requiring the vertical rail post to support a minimum of 200 lbs. of lateral thrust, is making engineered stair systems extremely popular, with their ability to withstand over 500 lbs of lateral thrust for the ’rail post support’ structural sections of the overall decking plans.
Over the past several years, much has been done to address deck and stair safety issues, but we still have a long way to go. One glaring example of the failure in deck and stair safety protocol is the industry standard of permitting "hot dipped galvanized" anchors, screws, hangers and other hardware to be in direct contact with ACQ, pressure treated wood. The galvanic corrosion created between the high copper content of the wood and the galvanizing is so severe that the normal industry standard of G90 galvanizing will corrode in as little as 12 months and G185, such as Z-Max® can be gone in 24 months. The industry (including code officials) has adopted G185 as a fall back position with no engineering testing available to substantiate the validity or longevity of this adoption...this is a "knee jerk" reaction and is an accident waiting to happen. Without a barrier between the pressure treated wood and galvanized hardware, serious corrosion is inevitable.
Among those over the age of sixty-five stairs also present a very big health risk. This is frequently as a result of mobility related diseases, but a decreased sense of balance is also often a factor. If you or a loved one is unsteady on the stairs then it is important that you are extremely careful. Many people choose to install a stair lift to help promote stair safety. A stair lift can carry an individual up and down the stairs in a safe manner. Usually stair lifts present the best option by retaining the ability to access all areas of a home. This is because when you rely on someone’s help to climb up the stairs you are decreasing your risk of falling, but increasing their risk of falling. The other option of simply not using the areas of a home that require stairs access is usually not practical.
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