Safety Tips for Stairways

Safety Tips for Stairways

Stairways are a very common walking surface in most workplaces. Falls from stairs may lead to serious injuries or even death. Employers must take measures in their workplaces to protect employees from slip, trip and fall hazards on any walking/working surface and employees have a responsibility to use stairways correctly, as intended. This topic is focused on how a stairway should be constructed and the proper use to prevent potential falls.

OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.135(b)(11)(i) states that the employer must ensure each employee exposed to an unprotected side or edge of a stairway landing that is 4 feet (1.2 m) or more above a lower level is protected by a guardrail or stair rail system.

Stairways typically consist of:

  1. Landing Platform
  2. Handrail or Stair Rail System
  3. Steps (Risers)
  • Each flight of stairs having at least 3 treads and at least 4 risers must be equipped with stair rail systems and handrails.
  • Except for the entrance, stairway floor openings must be guarded by a standard railing on all exposed sides.
 Platform landings on stairways must be free of obstructions such as cumulation of debris, materials, trash. The door or gate opening up onto a platform of stairway must open freely and not present a tripping hazard.

Platform landings on stairways must be free of obstructions such as cumulation of debris, materials, trash. The door or gate opening up onto a platform of stairway must open freely and not present a tripping hazard.

All employees should take the following precautions when stairways are used in the workplace:

  • Always use handrails when ascending or descending any stairway.
  • Be cautious of environmental conditions such as ice, snow, or rain accumulation that may build up on the steps of stairways.
  • Stairs must be kept clean and free of trash, debris, and anything that could cause the steps to be slippery.
  • Never use stairways or landings as a storage place, even temporarily.
  • Only take one step at a time when ascending or descending the stairway.
Example Stairways.JPG

Employers are responsible for ensuring workplace stairways are safe and employees should alert management to any unsafe issues or potential hazards noticed on or near stairways.

  • Inspect stairways for irregularities such as missing steps, loose handrails, corrosion, holes, grease, spills, or loose carpet/rugs.
  • Watch for opening doors on platforms of stairways.
  • Ensure there is adequate lighting in stairways.

The majority of stairway workplace incidents occur when an employee is not paying attention, they are rushing and they are not watching their footing.

Never carry a load with both hands while going up or down the stairs. This is dangerous for many reasons:

  • Your attention is focused on balancing the load
  • Your vision is blocked and you can’t see the stairs in front of you
  • Your hands are too full to grip a handrail.

More tips to be sure to emphasize in your next safety meeting on stairways:

  • Make sure your shoes are tied before using any stairway.
  • When walking with others, set a good example by walking up and down the stairs carefully while using the handrail.
  • Report or clean up spills or trash found on the stairs.
  • Report any situation in which there is insufficient lighting provided on any workplace stairway, indoors or outdoors.
  • Never run up or down the stairs and avoid distractions like reading a newspaper or looking at your cell phone.

Just because walking up and down the stairs seems basic, and we've all been doing it since we were toddlers, don't assume you can skip the safety meeting on this topic. Slips, trips and falls happen everyday on workplace stairways and all employees can benefit from these great reminders on stairway safety.

If you are ready to do more for your workplace safety and health program, adding regular safety meetings or toolbox talks is guaranteed to improve workplace safety while improving productivity and your company’s bottom line at the same time.

Putting together the safety message, toolbox talk or safety meeting topic takes time and the free online resources that provide a safety topic outline to follow just aren’t good enough. can make this part of your job easier and it’s super simple to get started.

A membership to comes at a very low price that never goes up no matter how many employees you have and no matter how many awesome safety topics you use. You don’t need any fancy software, employees don’t need to download an app, and it's very easy to get started. Included in your membership are hundreds of safety topics that you can use for your safety meetings, toolbox talks and safety moments including a safety meeting topic like this one that covers Stairway Safety in the workplace.

Take a look at our website to learn more about everything that comes with a membership and see all the information on pricing options. Click below to learn more today!

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