Uniform Risers and Treads. Stair risers and treads should be uniform. These dimensions are important because they allow the user to establish a uniform gait when using the stairs. Irregular distances can lead the loss of balance, stumbles and falls.
The nosings on stairs with short treads can present a trip hazard to people descending the stairs since the effective width of the tread is reduced and heels may catch on the nosings. Nosings may also present a trip hazard to people ascending the stairs if the person's foot is dragged up the riser, the user's toe may catch on the nosing and result in a misstep.
Shape of Leading Edge. Slightly rounded leading edges allow for light modeling for better visibility and will reduce injuries if one should fall against the tread. The leading edge should not have such a large radius that there is a tendency to slide over the edge.
Reducing or limiting the distance between landings provides for more resting places and reduces the distance one might fall.
The space between handrails, their strength of fasteners, height, ability to grasp, handrail continuity, extensions beyond the top and bottom risers, and visibility all affect safety.
Uniform light levels over the whole stair and low glare light sources improve visibility and reduce the likelihood of missteps.
Stair accidents also occur when the user's attention is distracted by a change in view.
Insurance companies and their lawyers will always attempt to blame the victim for these falls. Any physical disability of the victim will be examined as a possible cause. Did the person have any perception or sensory difficulties? The insurance company will examine the victim's footwear, high heels or long skirts that could have been a stumbling hazard. If the victim was carrying large heavy items or rushing, these factors will be used to blame the victim.
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