Step Up to Safety

Step Up to Safety with a Safety Management Plan--Call to Action!If you take a tumble on the stairs, you can easily end up fracturing your fibula or bruising your bottom, and it’s no fun. According to the National Safety Council, people at home and at work suffer over a million injuries falling on stairs, over 12,000 serious enough to cause death. In fact, stairs accidents are the second most common type of injury after motor vehicle accidents.

Since most people use stairs daily, or at least several times a week, the action tends to be subconscious. If your attention is not on the steps, it is easy to miss one. Taking care of how you navigate them is essential. So is maintaining the physical condition of a stairway. Both are essential for basic stairway safety, a subject covered in any business safety management plan.

Eight Tips to Use Stairs Safely

#1. Use the handrail to provide balance and points of contact. And maintain three points of contact at all times. This alone will prevent most falls.  50 things you must know about safety leadership

#2. Don’t run up or down steps. When you’re in a hurry, this is hard to remember. If you use the stairs to stay in shape, fitness trainers point out that walking up and down provides comparable training effectiveness.

#3. Concentrate on getting up and down, and nothing else. Ever see someone read the newspaper or check their email on the stairs? It’s not safe. Neither are distracting conversations, either with a friend or on the phone.

#4. One stair step at a time. It looks cool to double up, but you increase your chances of missing a step and falling.

#5. Carry small packages you can see over. Never burden yourself with cumbersome loads, or those too large to see over. Get help if you have a lot to carry. Always have one hand free.

#6. Look straight ahead. Watch where you are stepping.

#7. Take care in wet or freezing conditions, if the stairway is outside.

#8. Take extra care if you are wearing high heels, open-toe sandals, certain types of athletic shoes with awkward soles and any type of footwear that is problematic.

Six Tips to Keep Stairways Safe

By reinforcing their safety management plan, management can do a lot to ensure stairway safety. Here are five essentials for keeping the physical condition of a stairway secure.

#1. Install bright lights at all points along the stairway. Put on and off switches at both the top and bottom floors.

#2. Check on a regular basis for signs of wear in runners or for loose carpeting. Each step should have a smooth surface for safety.

#3. Regularly inspect handrails and risers for signs of wear.

#4. Ensure good traction by installing anti-slip treads on steps.

#5. Paint the bottom step white so people are aware of it. It is very common to mistake the last step for the floor, resulting in a fall.

fctc-online-banner#6. Avoid scatter rugs at the bottom or top of a stairway. If you need a rug at those points, use one with a non-skid bottom. Carpet tape on the edges and corners will keep it in place.

Taking the time to navigate the stairs safely will save you time in the hospital emergency room, embarrassment, pain and possible permanent injury. If you own the stairs, you will save yourself from lawsuits and employee downtime by keeping them in tip-top repair.

~Mary Hannick

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About the Author

safetyBUILT-IN is the safety-leadership learning and development division of SCInc. We believe sustainable safety performance is best achieved through a core-values based safety culture, and that culture must be driven by leadership. Our safety-leadership programs are competency-based, and focused on performance outcomes. We believe in building capability and ownership into our client organizations—as well as sustainability into our programs—so that our clients can continue running those programs long after we’re out of the picture. Our emphasis is on building better leadership presence, better leadership communication and better leadership coaching by first building relationships of trust with people and learning how to engage them on the level of their core values and beliefs.