Visitor Question

Is There a Law Requiring Handrails or Notice of Impending Steps?

Submitted By: Veronica (Meadville, PA)

I was at a public park that has sidewalks. One side has a set of two concrete steps leading to the street. I was at a public function walking and looking at displays. The path didn’t have handrails or any notice leading to the steps.

I missed the top step and fell into the street, receiving a concussion, lacerations and contusions. I’m wondering if there is a disability law requiring handrails or some notice of impending steps?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Veronica,

Our research indicates there may be restrictions and requirements related to the construction of public facilities, including, but not limited to staircases and handrails.

Section 403.1 of the State of Pennsylvania Building Code lays out the responsibilities and requirements for the construction of commercial facilities.

We were also referred to Section 403.102 and 403.103 of the State’s Building Code.

Section 403.102 and 403.103 discusses enforcement of the state’s building code requirements for municipalities who elect to adopt and enforce the state’s building code requirements.

Section 403.103 discusses the state’s position on the municipalities who elect not to adopt the state’s building code.

What we learned is this: Each county, city or town in Pennsylvania may elect to adopt or reject the State of Pennsylvania’s building code rules and regulations.

If the municipalities elect not to adopt the state’s regulations they must have their own. And even if they have their own, those respective building code regulations are still reviewable by the state.

We suggest you check with Meadville’s Public Works Department. They should be able to give you a direct answer to your question about the necessity of handrails.

Here are the direct telephone numbers of the people who are responsible for Public Works and construction in Meadville…

Public Works Superintendent: 814-724-6054

Secretary: 814-724-6053

Public Works Support Coordinator: 814-333-3324

City Electrician: 814-333-3326

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: September 1, 2011

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