27 Stairways fall prevention tips


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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