A slip or trip on a staircase can cause massive injuries. It is not quite the same as a fall from heights — from one level to another — but you have a lot of the same factors in play. Losing your balance for a mere second can cause you to fall down the stairs for a significant distance and may lead to more serious injuries than falling on a flat surface. This is why it’s so important to identify unsafe staircases and take extra caution if you have to use them — or avoid them entirely.
So, what types of issues should you look for? Some of the most common defects or safety hazards include:
- Stair treads that are not set in a level fashion
- Treads that are unevenly worn, as much wear often happens on the front edge
- Loose handrails or treads
- Missing handrails or exposed staircases without proper rails
- Uneven distances between stairs, as even a small difference can be enough to cause you to trip based on muscle memory
- Dark staircases without proper lighting
- Stairs that are obstructed or blocked, such as those that have been used for storage
- Cracked or broken treads that need to be replaced
If you see these issues, your best bet is to simply not use the stairs. Do not put yourself at risk. Unfortunately, many people only realize the extent of the hazards after they trip and fall. If this happens to you and you wind up in the hospital with serious injuries, be sure you are well aware of the legal options you have to seek out compensation.