Stairs and Steps: Preventing Slips and Falls Inside and Outside Your Home

Stairs and steps are all around us and have to be negotiated as part of our daily lives, both inside and outside of the house.

The point to remember is that if people or business owners are careless or even negligent in not making them safe enough, someone like St George personal injury attorneys, will probably be handling a claim for compensation.

Living with stairs

It is hard to design a home or business premises without using a set of stairs to help the occupants get around.

Stairs are functional and can also be a design statement if you install a sweeping staircase in your home for example, but they also have to be safe as well.

In view of the inherent dangers associated with stairs and steps, which involve climbing to another level and could therefore involve a fall from height if you lose your footing or trip, you should not be surprised to discover that there are building standards and regulations that have to be complied with.

Reasons to be careful

According the National Safety Council, there are about 12,000 deaths every year from stair falls and roughly half of these fatalities occur in the home.

Some common reasons for these alarming figures and numerous injuries in addition to the deaths, are objects left on the stairs, lack of a handrail and maybe surprisingly, a small variation in the height of some of the steps.

It is amazing to think that a variation of just ¼ of an inch could lead to an accident, but this is what the figures tell us.

Designing safer stairs and steps

If you are starting from scratch when working with a designer, this gives you the opportunity to think about the potential safety hazards and also take into consideration the age and agility of the occupants who will be using these stairs.

Grab rails of varying shapes and sizes can be deployed to help keep seniors or children safer when they are using stairs and steps in the home and there are some specific safety requirements that need to be adhered to, which an architect or builder should be aware of.

Riser height, the shape of the stair rail and the actual distance of the rail from the wall is also a safety consideration which is covered by building regulations.

What you can do

If you are trying to make your existing stairs as safe as possible, take a look at the potential safety issues and work out a way to make them less of a risk factor each time they are used.

Something as straightforward as a stair tread covering can definitely make a difference and this could make it safer coming down the stairs, which is when the majority of accidents occur.

You might want to use a simple rubber or vinyl tread to give each stair a good level of grip and don’t forget to take a look at lighting, as a lack of good light to see where you are stepping, can easily lead to a dangerous slip or fall.

Stairs and steps are a necessity for many of us, but they are also dangerous, so make sure you don’t disregard the risks and do what you can to make each use as safe as possible.

Phoebe Chambers works in the lettings industry and is the safety and risk specialist within her company. She enjoys spending her spare time writing and usually focuses her articles on property in one way or another.

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