27 Stairways fall prevention tips

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Stairways fall prevention is very important considering the number of slips, trips and falls which occurs on the stairways on regular basis.

It has been identified that a combination of deficiencies in design, lighting, visibility and attention are usually the culprits in stairway slips, trips and falls.

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OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.135(b)(11)(i) states that the employer must ensure each employee exposed to an unprotected side or edge of a stairway landing that is 4 feet (1.2 m) or more above a lower level is protected by a guardrail or stair rail system.

In these article, we will be highlighting the precautionary measures necessary to ensure stairways fall prevention.

Read Also: Prevention of slips trips and falls in the workplace

Precautionary measures necessary to ensure stairways fall prevention

  1. Stairs Design:
  • Treads shall have a uniform run and tread depth that does not vary more than 0.5 to 1 cm
  • Maximum stairs slope of 30º-35º is the recommended range.
  • Non-slippery surface on the whole steps or at least on the leading edges is crucial.
  • Stairways with more than 12 steps should have an intermediate landing. Landings should be void of any raised areas or trip hazards.

2. Visibility

  • Make sure your stairway is well lit
  • Get your vision checked regularly.
  • Use angular lighting and colour contrast to improve depth perception.
  • Use matte finishes on the treads to avoid glare.
  • Use low-glare overhead lighting to make tread nosings clearly visible and prevent strong shadows.
  • Install light switches at both the bottom and the top of the stairs so you don’t have to traverse an unlit staircase.
  • Placing nightlights in hallways and landings for added visibility.
  • Broken or malfunctioning lighting should be repaired or replaced.

Read Also: Fall protection: Types and fall protection plan

3. Handrails

  • Use a strong handrail to help you keep your balance
  • Handrails should extend the full length of the stairs, and slightly beyond the top and bottom, without a break.
  • Handrails should rest at adult elbow height (35 ½ to 38 in.)
  • Protect the open area under the top rail to the steps by installing a fixed barrier.

4. Housekeeping

  • Nothing should be sticking out the surfaces of stairs, handrails or bannisters (like nails or splinters) that could cause a fall.
  • Spills, wet spots, or any debris should be immediately cleaned up.
  • Be cautious of environmental conditions such as ice, snow, or rain accumulation that may build up on the steps of stairways.

  • Stairs must be kept clean and free of trash, debris, and anything that could cause the steps to be slippery.

  • Never use stairways or landings as a storage place, even temporarily.

 

5. Other precautions

  • Avoid carrying objects with both hands while using the stairs.
  • Do not carry bulky objects that block your vision while using the stairs.
  • Give your stairway a second look. Examine your staircase before you go up or down to help eliminate risks you may have overlooked.
  • Wear shoes with slip resistant sole, like rubber soles. Climbing stairs in bare feet or in slippers can be risky business, particularly if you have a slick wooden staircase.
  • Tread carefully and steer clear of visually distracting patterns on the treads.
  • Ensure stairways maintenance

In this article, stairways fall prevention has been divided into five (5) areas, following this precautions will help prevent fall form our stair ways.

Read Also: How to calculate the total fall distance of your lanyard

 

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