Staircase Health & Safety Tips
Staircase Trip Hazards – Human Factors
There are three categories of reasons for staircase falls ands trips – the first group which we will discuss below, has been categorised as ‘Human Factors’ The reason for this will very quickly become clear when you review the list, these are all factors where the human is at fault.
- Rushing – Whether it’s rushing to the door, rushing to the toilet, rushing because you have forgotten something, hurrying up and downstairs is one of the leading reasons.
- Alcohol – Alcohol affects both concentration and balance – which can be a recipe for disaster on stairs.
- Carrying – Carrying items up and down stairs can negatively affect balance, as well as restrict the view of the stairs.
- Leaving Items on the Stairs – Items placed on the stairs, whether it’s a box or a set of car keys can cause trips and injuries.
- Darkness – Using stair in the dark, is a sure fire way of missing steps and falling. Ensure that adequate lighting is always present, and used.
Staircase Trip Hazards – Health Factors
- Medication – Similar to how alcohol affects the body, medication can alter both balance and concentration.
- Illness – Illness can again negatively affect both concentration and strength, meaning extra case has to be taken in travelling down stairs.
- Vision – eye conditions and poor vision can affect depth perception. Users of varifocal and bifocal glasses also report difficulties in steps being distorted.
Staircase Trip Hazards – Staircase Factors
The full report on Staircase Risks & Health and Safety can be found here, from the Health & Safety Executive.
Below, we look at a few simple safety checks you can carry out on your staircase yourself, to minimise the risk of injury and falls.
- Are the steps rotten? Give your steps a quick check over to make sure that the wood is preserved OK, is not crumbling and is one solid piece.
- Are the steps secure? Simply stepping on the steps of your staircase is usually enough to identify any problems. The steps should hold firm and not move when taking your weight.
- Is the handrail secure? Give your handrail a shake to test how securely it is fitted. If there is only one handrail – fit another for added peace of mind.
- Are your stair treads wide enough? Do your stair treads take your entire foot? Make sure that they do not leave your foot overhanging – as this can easily cause a loss of balance and a fall.
Are the spindles at the correct intervals? Many staircases have spindles, for the simple reason that they prevent falls through the staircase. Make sure they are held firmly in place, whilst being at the correct intervals to prevent anybody falling through.
If any of the above items are causing issues, then a wide range of replacement stair parts are available – and can be easily fitted by those with even a limited knowledge of DIY.