Stairwell safety is the property owner’s responsibility

Falling down a flight of stairs is as terrifying as it is dangerous. Worse, such a fall can result in severe injuries that require a great deal of time in recovery. In some cases, stairwell fall accidents can even result in death. Research into slips and falls on stairways indicate that the majority of these falls occur when people are descending. In fact, some research indicates that falling on stairs and steps is the leading cause of death in slip-and-fall accidents.

The responsibility of making sure stairwells in New York City are safe lies with the owner of the premises. There are a number of ways to maintain stairwells in order to make certain patrons remain injury-free while utilizing the property. First and foremost, staircases should be well-planned with the proper height between steps and with appropriate tread widths. This ensures patrons have enough space for their feet as well as freedom of movement as they ascend and descend the steps.

Steps with anti-slip coatings or nonslip treads are safer than stairs with a slick surface. Stairwells should also be kept empty of obstacles that might cause a patron to stumble and should contain adequate lighting. Other maintenance actions that can reduce the risk of stairwell fall accidents include:

— Keeping steps clean and free of ice or water

— Providing sturdy handrails on both sides

— Putting wet floor signs in place after cleaning

— Making sure staircase carpeting is secure and damage-free

Stairwells do not have to be dangerous or intimidating. When a property owner fails to correct obvious safety issues and a person becomes injured in a fall, the owner may be held liable for any damages the patron has suffered. Pursuing a premises liability lawsuit is one way the victim can find a remedy.

Source: Church Mutual Insurance Co., “Recognizing the importance of slips and falls on steps and stairs,” accessed Sep. 20, 2016