According to figures on the Safe Environments website, falls on stairs account for over 60 per cent of all slip, trip and fall deaths in buildings. Despite this fact there are minimal design and construction principles contained within current building regulations. Safe Environments believe that there are four important environmental factors to consider when evaluating stairway safety and designing stair safety solutions.
The visibility of the stairway
Visual clues such as handrails, depth perception in good lighting conditions and high visibility of step nosings are extremely important aids and stair safety solutions.
Slip resistance of stair treads
These stair safety solutions should have a luminance contrast greater than 30 per cent to the very edge of the stairs. The strips should also be between 50-75 mm in width.
Provision of suitable handrails
An important visual aid as well as assisting as a fall restraint. Best practice is for the railing to be semicircular with not less than 30 mm or more than 50 mm diameter for not less than 270 degrees around the upper surface.
Dimensional geometry of stairs
It has been found that stairs with an irregularity as little as 6 mm between adjacent rises and runs can cause a fall.