Handrails are among the best tools used to prevent falls. They are often easy to install and secure, and they make traveling up and down stairs or steep spaces easier for people.
People don’t always use handrails for a number of reasons. They may see that the handrail is in poor condition and is dangerous, such as if it has rusted or is splintered. They may believe that using the handrail with slow them down, such as if using it would require them to walk down the stairs in a line behind others.
It’s important to use handrails when possible, though, because doing so could help protect you and prevent falls. If a handrail is damaged or none is available, talk to the owner of the property. They should repair a damaged handrail or consider installing one, especially if it is a requirement based on local codes.
What can you do to be safer on staircases?
To be safer when using staircases, it’s important for you to:
- Put away your digital devices, so that you have at least one hand free to hold the handrail. It’s better to have both hands free, so you can catch yourself if you start to fall.
- Slow down. Walk down or up stairs, don’t run.
- When stairs are located outside, always use a handrail when it is raining or snowing. Ice and slick surfaces make it more likely that you’ll fall.
- Only carry the items you can handle safely. If you can’t see over what you’re carrying or are off-balance, you’re more likely to fall.
These are a few tips that can help you prevent a fall. If you do fall, though, what are your next steps?
Get in touch with the property owner
If you fall, contact the property owner and seek medical help. Fall injuries can be serious and may impact your ability to work, go to school or complete daily tasks. You deserve an opportunity to seek medical care and to have that care covered by the property owner’s insurance. Property owners are required to keep their premises safe, so if they have not, then you may have a strong premises liability claim.