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Safety Nugget - Hand rails and Stair Case Safety< Back to Blog

Jul 01, 2015
By: G. Yepsen
Categories: Safety

I think that at one time or another we have all tripped or stumbled while going up or down a set of stairs.  It has happened to me and fortunately I was not seriously hurt.  But, remember, if any of us fall down the stairs, our 100 to 200+ lbs of weight will fall with us.  It would be easy to break an arm or leg, or something even worse. 

Falls on stairs take a large toll of lives each year at home as well as on the job.  Many of these stairway falls could have been avoided if handrails had been used.  According to the CDC National Center For Health Statistics, 30,208 people died in the US in 2013 from falls.  Of those, 1600 died from falling down stairs.

Thinking back to our RAD intervention training, remember that when someone chooses not to be safe, that choice somehow made sense to the person in that moment.  What are some reasons people have cited for not using handrails?

  • The use of handrails is a sign of infirmity.  Think about it, being safe doesn’t imply infirmity!  It’s just good sense.

  • We think that they slow our descent. However, the awful speed with which you reach the bottom of the stairs when you fall makes the time lost through handrail use seem unimportant!

  • People cite “germs” as a reason to not use handrails.  I’d suggest using the handrail and buying hand sanitizer.  Hand sanitizer is cheaper than hospital visits.

  • We need to carry something up or down the stairs.  Make sure the load is small enough to see the stairs and to allow one hand to be free to hold the railing.

Finally, did you know that OSHA safety standards require any flight of stairs with four or more steps must have a handrail?  There’s a good reason for this.  Use handrails, don’t be a statistic!

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