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Stairs may seem harmless but they actually present a danger – not just for kids but for everyone.
UK statistics reveal that more than 1,000 people die yearly from falling down the stairs, with most victims being elderly. Thousands more suffer from various injuries. Though not all cases of falling down the stairs are fatal, it is still imperative that you exercise caution to ensure safety.
So when do stairs become dangerous?
There are actually three major contributing factors:
– Health factors deal with loss of balance, drowsiness, poor eyesight and frailty which is commonly observed in elderly people.
– Structural factors are usually due to poor staircase construction design and improper stair maintenance.
– Behavioural factors including distractions, rushing down the stairs, unsuitable footwear, stair hopping or any other inappropriate behaviour.
A great many stair accidents are caused by behavioural factors. If a fall from a simple, single straight stair could prove fatal, how much more dangerous would it be on a spiral stair? As a precautionary measure, here are some safety measures that should be considered.
Have someone help you up and down the stairs – if you have any health problems, such as poor eyesight, ask for an able bodied person to assist you up and down the stairs. It is also worth ensuring that there is proper lighting in the area and that handrails are installed for added support.
Observe safe conditions – take extra care if the stairs are wet, if they are covered with loose carpeting or if they are in need of repair. Properly maintain your stairs by carrying out necessary maintenance and repair work when required. Most importantly, your stairs should be constructed following proper building codes.
Avoid unsafe practices – to avoid improper behaviour, you should remember to:
– Take due care. Do not rush.
– Pay attention to your footing. Use the full tread of each step, avoiding the very edge lest you should lose your balance.
– Do not block your line of vision. Reading a book, texting or using your phone or carrying a load that blocks your line of vision will cause a distraction, which will prevent you from looking where you are putting your feet.
– Use handrails. The concept of using handrails is very basic. You can break your fall if you slip or trip by grabbing the rail. You can also use them for support as you go up and down the stairs.
– Use proper footwear to avoid slips or trips.
– Do not hop on the stairs. Take each tread one step at a time.
– Avoid clothing hazards. Untied shoe laces or trousers that are too long can cause trips.
Of course it would help a lot if you had your stairs constructed in accordance with building codes. For your peace of mind, contact our team of stair experts at Spiral UK. We would be delighted to help you fall-proof your stairs.