Slips, trips and falls are the second most common cause of sprain and strain related injuries in Queensland and can lead to serious and sometimes debilitating injuries.
The causes of why workers fall on or from stairs are often overlooked. Serious injuries such as fractures and head injuries can result from the speed and height involved in these falls.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland's new Safe design and use of stairs guidance provides practical guidance on what to check and fix to reduce potential falls on stairs and steps at your workplace. The guide includes how to get it right from the very beginning: the design and construction of stairs in a workplace.
Safe design and use of stairs includes core design requirements plus practical and handy tips on how to find and fix common stair hazards. There's also information on handrails, lighting, housekeeping and maintenance.
Even one step not consistent in dimensions with other steps in a stairway can cause people to lose balance and fall. You can use a quick and easy method to check for irregular steps - with just a sheet of paper and a pen.
The guide also highlights other important issues not commonly considered for safe walking on stairs, including:
- checking the visibility and detectability of stairs, handrails and hazards, which can be improved through better lighting and visual cues
- reviewing what workers are doing while walking on stairs—whether they can see where they are walking and if they have a free hand to grab the handrail to break a fall
- keeping on top of the housekeeping—regularly inspect, clean, maintain and repair stairs and handrails to keep them in good condition.
More information on Slips, trips and falls is at worksafe.qld.gov.au