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Building access ramp slip and fall hazards, general safety and proper construction: this article describes the common causes of access ramp accidents: slips, trips, and falls. Slippery walking surfaces combine with inadequate handrails or guardrails to cause falling accidents along ramps and similar elevated walkways.
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Our ramp and guardrail photo (left, Poughkeepsie, NY) illustrates that ramps are used as crossways or footbridges as well as direct building access ramps. This ramp is placed level and crosses a small creek on a college campus.
The guidelines for guardrailings and slip protection apply to these structures as well.
With its open steel grid walkway this ramp is quite slip resistant under most weather conditions. Notice that the guardrailings include the required extensions at the entry to the ramp.
Slips, Trips, Missteps and Their Consequences, by Bakken et als. provides clear and well-thought out explanations of how and why people slip and fall on stairs, walks, and ramps.
Section 20.2 in Bakken et als. discusses ramp design specs and falls on ramps. The following quotes are from that text:
Principal Causes of Ramp Falls:
Static Coefficient of Friction - How Slippery is the Slope of Your Ramp?
In the cited text and other engineering references, SCOF is the static coefficient of friction. Page 23 in the above text gives the SCOF requirements for slopes of various inclines. A 1 in 12 slope, which is an 8.3 percent slope (the recommended pitch by most sources) is bracketed by SCOFs for two slopes: a 0.93 SCOF for a 9.3 percent slope, and SCOF of 0.625 for a 6.25 percent slope.
Visual Clues Affect the Chances of Falling on a Ramp
In other words, using an improper and ineffective "anti slip" coating (such as ordinary paint) might actually increase the risk of falling not only for being a potentially surprise slip surface itself, but also because the presence of such a coating provides a visual clue that would be expected to lead a pedestrian to think that the surface had *extra* slip resistance when in fact it does not. Be certain that any anti-slip paints or add-on non-slip tread materials used on a ramp are intended for that use.
The text also includes material on ramp railings (that can be a visual clue about ramp height, slope, and dangers), and on other ramp markings as they also affect ramp safety.
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