Sometimes, using the stairs in a public building is unavoidable. On the other hand, many in Florida prefer to take the stairs instead of riding an elevator for a little exercise. This is all well and good unless the stairs in the building place the visitors at risk of a dangerous fall. Falls on stairs result in thousands of deaths and millions of injuries each year, and many of these falls are the result of negligence on the part of the building owner or manager.
Stairs that are poorly constructed, do not receive proper maintenance, or do not have basic elements of protection can leave visitors vulnerable to severe injuries. Common injuries from falls on stairs include bone fractures, head injuries, spinal cord injuries and internal bleeding. Some critical factors in stairways that may contribute to these injuries include the following:
- Lack of handrails or handrails that are not properly secured to the walls
- Lack of non-slip surfaces and abrasive stair nosing on steps
- No reflective or brightly colored tape to help visitors see the edges of the steps
- Inadequate lighting in stairway areas
- Trips hazards left on stairs on landings
- Non-compliance with OSHA regulations requiring 30-inch platforms and landings
Falls on stairs resulting in serious injuries may require emergency treatment, hospitalization and potentially physical therapy or other rehabilitation. Recovery from severe fall injuries can be long and painful, not to mention expensive. Many victims of falls in public places investigate their options for seeking compensation for their injuries.