Psychological experiments were conducted to determine allowable range of handrail diameter for use by the elderly on stairs and in the toilets. The results were cross-examined with ergonomic standpoint. The present findings are that: 1) Simple grab of handrails yields the optimal diameter of 40 mm; 2) Simultaneous application of body weight against the handrail indicates 36 mm or slimmer as the optimal diameter. The latter result is more important as seniors need stability and reliability when using handrails. These findings are in accordance with the guidelines in Sweden, New Zealand, and England & Wales, where diameters between 30 and 50 mm are unanimously accepted. Present research results point toward a revised recommendation in Japan on handrail diameters to secure safer traverse on stairs.
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Kose, S., Goto, Y., Sugimoto, Y.: Handrail requirements for use by the elderly. Part 1. Basic experiment on handrail diameter. In: Summaries of Technical Papers of Annual Meeting of AIJ 1989 -Architectural Design-, pp. 799–800 (1989). (in Japanese)
Kose, S., Sugimoto, Y., Goto, Y., Konishi, T.: Handrail requirements for use by the elderly. Part 2. Allowable diameter and necessary clearance from the wall. In: Summaries of Technical Papers of Annual Meeting of AIJ 1990 -Architectural Design-, pp. 697–698 (1990). (in Japanese)
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The experiments were conducted as part of joint research between the Building Research Institute of the Ministry of Construction, the Naka Corporation Technical Laboratory, and the Comprehensive Housing R&D Institute of the Sekisui House, Ltd. Summaries of these researches were reported at the Architectural Institute of Japan Annual meetings in 1989  and 1990 . The former part was also orally presented at 22nd International Congress of Applied Psychology  and at the annual meeting of Japan Ergonomics Society Kanto Chapter .
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Kose, S., Sugimoto, Y., Goto, Y. (2020). Acceptable Handrail Diameter for Use by the Elderly. In: Di Bucchianico, G., Shin, C., Shim, S., Fukuda, S., Montagna, G., Carvalho, C. (eds) Advances in Industrial Design. AHFE 2020. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 1202. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-51194-4_28
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