By: Chris Macdonald6 min read
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No matter what type of business you operate, steps and stairs are one of the highest risk areas that customers, employees or members of the public will encounter. Slips and trips account for over a third of all workplace injuries and over 40% of injuries to members of the public.
While any slips or trips can cause serious injury, the increased height and decreased tread surface of a stair environment poses an even greater risk. Whether you operate in the private or public sector, you have a duty of care to those on your premises.
It is therefore essential to make sure that your steps and stairs are as safe as possible. This will prevent injuries and reduce the chance of legal proceedings from an injured party.
The more slippery a floor surface, the greater risk it poses for slips. While this may seem obvious, many floor surfaces can be much more slippery than expected, especially when contaminated with water or other substances.
To determine exactly how much of a risk the surface of stairs poses, SafeGroup , carries out slip testing using the pendulum method. This is HSE’s standard test method for assessing floor slipperiness.
The test uses an imitation heel on a swinging pendulum to simulate the motion of walking. It gives a very accurate assessment as to whether a surface poses a high, moderate or low slip risk. While it is a very accurate and useful test, it must be carried out by a professional in order to ensure accuracy and correct interpretation of the results.
Slipperiness of the tread surface is not the only factor in determining the risk of slips and trips on stairs. HSE has undertaken extensive research into the role that the physical dimensions of stairs play in accidents and found it to be significant.
Some of the factors that must be considered when assessing the structure of stairs include:
British Standards BS 5395-1 cover the required dimensions and standards for stairs. This is also covered by section K of the building regulations.
It is worth noting that these documents are not retrospective, so many existing buildings may not conform to the most recent regulations. It is important to bring any older steps or stairs up to code where possible to reduce the risk of accidents.
Regardless of the results of your slip risk assessment, you should also have the structure of your steps and stars analyses to ensure that they adhere to all relevant safety and building regulations. At SafeGroup we have worked with some of the nation’s most respected names including the NHS.
For more information about our stair safety assessments, or to request an on-site analysis, get in touch with us today.
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