Stairs are a particular risk area for falls, so take extra care to make them as safe as possible.
Common hazards on stairs and stairways
- Open treads (staircases that have gaps or hollow spaces between each step): it is much easier to trip, and they can be disorienting to people with poor vision.
- 'Nosing', or protrusions over the edge of the step.
- Worn, frayed or loose carpets or stair runners.
- Loose floor boards.
- Unsecured rugs placed at the top or bottom of the stairs.
- Poor lighting along the stairs.
- A lack of adequate stair rails or loose/poorly attached stair rails.
- Furniture placed on the stairs, or objects temporarily left on the stairs.
Reducing the risk of falls on the stairs
- A colour-contrasted nosing on the edge of each stair will make it easier to see the edge of the stair.
- A carpet colour that strongly contrasts with the walls will make it easier to use the stairs. If this is not currently the case, consider replacing the carpet for one of a different colour or re-painting the walls.
- A small degree of forward planning can potentially reduce the number of times that stairs need to be used during the day.
- Lighting should cover the entire stairway, as well as the areas such as landings at the top and bottom.
- Dealing with a fall for practical advice about reducing the risk of falls in other areas of the home.
- Safety and wellbeing in the home: read our guide for more safety tips.
Page last reviewed: March 2015
Next review due: November 2016