According to an article entitled “Reducing Slips, Trips and Falls in Stairways” by Wayne Maynard and George Brogmus, “More serious upper and/or lower extremity injuries occur traveling down a stairway than when traveling up a stair way. In stairway decent, the tread depth – or horizontal surface – must be adequate for the ball of the foot to land on the tread without extending over the step below.” There are specific recommendations for riser and tread dimensions to help prevent these injuries from occurring.
The current stair tread and riser recommendations include:
- Tread and riser dimensions must be consistent throughout the stairway
- Riser heights are required to be at least 4 inches minimum and 7 inches maximum, while the minimum tread depth should be 11 inches, exclusive of overhang
- Tread surface and the floor surface leading to the stairs should be slip-resistant
- Stairways containing more than 12 steps should have an intermediate landing, and should be void of any raised areas or trip hazards
Though the height and depth of the stair tread is crucial during the construction phase to help prevent accidents, the stair tread itself, if not protected, can still be a slippery surface to walk on. As a result, non slip stair treads can be easily installed over existing slippery stairs, making them safe and slip resistant.
Many stair accidents are considered due to poor maintenance, lack of proper attention and use of the stairs. In my opinion, if stair treads are kept clean, wear resistant and contain a non slip surface, these accidents could be significantly reduced, providing users with a safe elevated walking environment.
Maynard, Wayne and Brogmus, George. “Reducing Slips, Trips and Falls in Stairways.