Because stairs are inherently hazardous, people have been falling when using them, and becoming seriously injured or even being killed in the process. In the United States alone, a dozens of people are killed, and tens of thousands of people become seriously injured every year from the falling while on stairs. The American National Council on Compensation Insurance has recently estimated that the cost and liability of such falling injuries is second only to those caused by motor vehicles.
The vast majority of stairway falls result from a loss of balance, inattentiveness, and unsafe behavior, and a common contributing factor is neglecting to use handrails, which should be used more often because it serves as a preventive measure to accidental falls.
Because stairway accidents can cause severe injury and possibly even death, building codes for stairs and ramps are quite rigorous, and justifiably so. Precise design of stairways and handrails can substantially reduce the potential for accidental falls by providing people with the means to retrieve balance, but even the best design cannot eliminate every single falling hazards. That being stated, the best approach to minimize the hazard of falling down stairs is still to encourage the building of precisely designed stairways, combined with training focused on raising the awareness of the potential for serious stairwell accidents. The following are measures that can be taken to prevent falls on stairwells.
- Designing and building stair dimensions previously determined to be the safest stair design for people to use with one hundred percent accuracy.
- Designing, building, and implementing stair surfaces with a non slippery material, such as rubber or grip tape.
- Ensuring handrail location is optimal for ease of use and for fast action gripping if someone was to reach out and grab it when about to fall. In addition, a form of grip tape for handrails would be optimal for ensuring the hand maintains an effective grip on the rail.
- Make sure that visibility while traveling up and down stairwells is maximized at all times, and in all instances. Lighting should be one hundred percent efficient at all times and even during emergency situations, and there should be no obstacles present that could block lighting.
- Explain to people who frequently use the stairs that accidental falls on stairwells is a serious issues, and people who use the stairs should be cognizant of the present danger, and aware of the tools around them that can prevent accidental falls.
Excellence in housekeeping, or outstanding attention to detail. In other words, make sure someone is tasked to ensuring that stairs and handrails are free from obstacles, all of the lighting is still working, and there are no outages present, and that slippery surfaces are dried of and taken care of – for example.