The premises safety lawyers at Jaroslawicz & Jaros have represented many plaintiffs who, unfortunately, suffered serious injuries by a fall that was related to stairs and walkways. There are many laws, building codes and industry standards for pedestrian safety while using stairways. Our lawyers will investigate your case by looking at the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of stairways in residential, and commercial premises.
The basic rule is that the tread depth and riser height on stairs must be consistent to prevent fall injuries. The tread depth and riser height simply refer to how deep and how high the stairs on the stairway are.
After taking the first few steps, stairway users expect that the conditions they have encountered will continue throughout the stairway. It is for that reason that stairway stairs must be consistent. If the first step of a stairway is seven (7) inches in height, whether the user is going up or down the stairs, the user then expects the next stairs to also be seven (7) inches in height. If the next stair is not also seven (7) inches in height the user may be thrown off balance and fall. Stairs must be consistent in design.
Some steps have what are called nosings on the treads. This is usually a strip made of metal or rubber which is attached to the edge of the step. Nosings on steps must be easily seen and firmly attached, as well as level with the step. Treads, the part a user places their foot on, should also be slip-resistant.
There are a number of safety measures that are used to make stairs as safe as possible. Safety measures include handrails, visible nosing strips, adequate lighting, and signs.
Handrails assist the user to maintain their balance and also to prevent falls. Handrails are used both to support and assist the user, whether going up or down stairs as well as something to grab onto if the user loses their balance and trips or slips on the stairs.
Handrails must be firmly affixed and not loose or rickety, and with enough room to place the user's hand around it, as well as continuing uninterrupted for the entire length of the stairway. Depending on the width of the stairway the codes may require that handrails be on both sides of the stairs and even in the center of a wide stairway.