Ergonomic design requirements for a safe grip to prevent falling in the bathroom

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Falling of older persons resulting in injuries is a common problem (Hartholt, 2010). The annual probability to experience a fall for people aged 65 years and over is 30% (Hartholt, 2010, 2011). There is limited information about the location where fall injuries occur, but bathrooms commonly are believed to be a particularly hazardous location (Span, 2009). The aim of this research is to quantify the design requirements for the cross section of safe grab rail design parameters for the bathroom. Based on past research several shapes are evaluated with in a pulling experiment. The tested grab rails consisted of four different sizes of circular grab rails, two oval grab rails and a squared grab rail with two different finger protrusions. The subjects were instructed to hold the rail while the pull-force was increased. The test ended when they could not hold the rail anymore. The peak force was then used as data. It was concluded that cylindrical handrails with a diameter of 28 mm and 32 mm are more suitable to apply high forces on, than cylindrical handrail with diameter 45 mm, oval handrails or squared handrails. Practitioner Summary: When installing a safe rail in the bathroom to prevent falling, especially for the elderly population it is advised to use a cylindrical grip with a diameter of 28 mm or 32 mm.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th Triennial Congress of the IEA
EditorsGitte Lindgaard, Dave Moore
PublisherInternational Ergonomics Association
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventIEA2015 The 19th triennial congress of the IEA, Melbourne, Australia - s.l.
Duration: 9 Aug 201514 Aug 2015


ConferenceIEA2015 The 19th triennial congress of the IEA, Melbourne, Australia


  • Grab
  • cross-section
  • shape
  • elderly
  • fall prevention
  • grip force


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