Research Center Studying Young Child Guard Rail Safety
The NAHB Research Center this spring entered into an agreement with the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association (NOMMA) to conduct an independent study on guard safety for young children.
Working with Alan Hedge of Humanuse Inc., an ergonomics research consulting firm, the Research Center has been reviewing data on factors affecting the climability of specific guard designs.
Some of the human factors being reviewed in the study include the capabilities of children in different age groups, such as their physical abilities, cognitive skills and temperament. The study will also use child anthropometric data (comparative measurements of the human body and its parts) to guide the development of various guard configurations.
Guard design factors to be covered include height, spacing, orientation, size and pitch.
In 2004, the International Code Council created the Code Technology Committee (CTC) to examine guard climability as well as other complex issues. Supporting any code changes that provide proven safety benefits and believing that code change proposals should be based on the best research evidence, NOMMA has been actively involved in this process and is formally represented on the CTC Climable Guard Study Group.
In February 2006, NOMMA retained the services of Whorton Marketing & Research of Columbia, Md. for an initial industry study. That study identified knowledge gaps in the current research, and provided a foundation for further study. Kevin Whorton, the principal of the company, has remained an adviser and is serving as a liaison between NOMMA and the NAHB Research Center.
THE NOMMA Board competitively chose the NAHB Research Center to conduct the study because of its excellent reputation in the construction industry, its solid understanding of the issue, its expertise with managing collaborative studies and its collaboration with experts in the subject matter, such as Hedge. The Research Center is also well known by the CTC and is respected in the code community.
The Research Center expects to complete the study late this summer. It is also developing a computer model analysis for the project.