6 Reasons Accidents Happen on Stairs
How many times a day do you think you go up or down your home staircase? It's one of those simple things that you never really think about. While there's very little chance of having a fall, over one million staircase accidents occur worldwide each year. Most of these are harmless slips, but it's better to be safe than sorry. If your stairs aren’t in great condition, then they could be one of the more dangerous features of your home.
Here are six easy-to-fix issues that could cause an unsafe stairway
Dim lighting might set a nice mood, but it's not the safest environment if you have to move quickly. Trying to descend the stairs at night or in the dark leads to a lot of accidental falls. Burned-out bulbs or low-wattage lights can also hurt visibility, making it harder to see objects, pets or other hazards that might be on the staircase. Be sure to move slowly and always keep one hand on the handrail if using the stairs in the dark.
Objects on the Stairway
Never leave anything on the stairs, even if you intend to move it later. Children's toys and pets can lead to a nasty fall when they slide or move out from under you. Even if you are aware of the objects crowding your stairs, their presence leaves less room to maneuver and can make using the handrail more difficult. You may also want to be careful when decorating for the holidays. Having a string of Christmas lights draped around the handrail might look beautiful, but it could prevent people from holding onto the handrail when going up or down.
Poorly Designed Steps
Sometimes stairs can be poorly designed. The steps may be too narrow or shallow, or made from slippery material like polished wood. Sometimes curved staircases have steps that are not the same depth all the way across, and these can cause you to misstep, falling further than intended. Be sure to carefully measure the amount of space needed for each step and hire trusted contractors when building a new staircase.
Missing or Damaged Steps
If your staircase has loose boards, missing steps or carpet that is not securely tacked down, then it could become a serious tripping hazard. Always make sure any building is up to code, especially if it's your own home. If a guest trips or injures themselves, then you might be held liable. Be sure to routinely check if there are any structural hazards or loose carpet on your stairs. It should be easy to spot on sight, but a more thorough check might save you a lot of trouble.
Missing or Damaged Handrails
Handrails add extra security when using the stairs by providing something to hold onto. Even if you slip and your feet aren’t steady, you can secure yourself with your hands. This can be especially important for children or the elderly. Having loose or broken handrails might cause serious issues. Imagine if someone slips and they try to grab the handrail to stop their fall, only to have the handrail snap or break off. There would be nothing to hold them back, and they might be in for a nasty fall. Even if someone isn't about to fall, they might casually lean against the handrail, putting their weight on it, and the weakened structure could break, resulting in a fall that could have easily been prevented. Make sure your handrails are secure and stable in order to keep yourself and your guests safe.
You’re in a Hurry
Sometimes life comes at you fast, but it's important to take caution and not rush. Trying to go up stairs two steps at a time or sliding down the stairs is a great way to cause an accident. Make sure to properly take the stairs one step at a time and go slow, especially if your legs or knees aren’t as strong as they used to be. Just as you wouldn’t go twice the speed limit when driving because you are in a hurry, don't try to go up or down the steps faster than you can safely. Having a fall will cause you more time and pain than taking it slow.