According to recent statistics, people in the UK have incidents involving stairs every 90 seconds, and in 2015 there were 787 deaths in England and Wales caused by a fall on steps or stairs, which equates to more than two fatalities every day.
With these worrying statistics coming to light, Richard Burbidge is urging merchants to promote safe stair and balustrade practices.
Merchants should offer advice to their customers on stair safety, educating them on what homeowners ought to watch out for, as well as offering secure solutions.
Obviously, a big part of stair safety is about behaviour, proper lighting, secure carpets and common sense. But good stair design and handrail systems and builders’ adherence to regulations also has an important part to play.
Part K of the Building Regulations states balustrades must be fitted on flights of stairs and landings with a drop of 600mm or more in residential dwellings. It also states that all buildings lived in by children under five years of age, staircases and landings should be designed to prevent children becoming trapped in or readily being able to climb the guarding. Horizontal, panelled stair balustrades, or ‘ranch style’, are of particular risk of these incidents.
This provides a significant opportunity for trade professionals, as despite these regulations being in existence since 1985, there’s still a need for education within the building industry and for homeowners, to encourage investment in secure balustrades, to ensure stair safety.
Josh Burbidge is group commercial director at Richard Burbidge.