Falls are the second leading cause of fatal accidents (only after automobile accidents), and of those falls, nearly 50% occur on stairs. Keeping stairs in good repair is essential to prevent accidents.
Make sure that stairways have secure handrails and guardrails, even surfaces, even tread heights and are free of deteriorating coverings such as fraying carpets.
To prevent an accident, awareness and prevention are key. Here are some simple ways to prevent a fall on stairways:
- Whether going up or downstairs, always use the handrail.
- Make sure stairways are well lit, with on/off switches at the top and bottom.
- Make sure stairways are clear of any obstacles.
- Make sure that the edge of the bottom stair is noticeable. If the stairs and floor have the same carpeting or same paint color, it may not be obvious where the stairs end. Painting the edge white or using adhesive caution tape will help differentiate the stairs from the floor.
- If you are wearing footwear such as high heels, slippers, or sandals, take extra caution while going up and downstairs.
- If throw rugs are positioned at the top or bottom of the stairway, make sure they are secured with a skid-resistant backing.
- Keep outdoor stairways free of ice, snow, or water accumulation.
- When carrying objects up and down steps, be sure to see where you are stepping and can hold onto the handrail.
The chances of a fall on stairways increases with inattention, illness, fatigue, and haste, so take care when ascending and descending stairways. There’s a stair video on RS SafetyTV and SAFEME Essentials has a module on Slips Trips and Falls.
WR employs Rick Means as Director of Safety and Education who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, x118 or [email protected]