HSE is aware of numerous incidents where patients or residents have fallen on stairs, which have resulted in serious injury or death.


Here’s what HSE says:

“There are a number of factors that are particularly relevant to patients and residents and should be considered in the individual’s care plan.

Stairs should be in safe condition and be of suitable design and dimensions for their use, as set out in Building Regulations Document K. You should consider whether they:

  • are well lit;
  • have handrails at an appropriate height that contrasts with the surroundings;
  • have good slip resistance properties, particularly at the leading edge;
  • have clearly marked edges;
  • are free from trip hazards or obstacles.

If patients or residents lack mobility and require extra support, then the stairs should have suitable handrails on both sides. Ideally, stairs should not be steep, winding, curved, nor have open risers. Where individuals are identified as having sight impairment, and are still allowed to use the stairs, the leading edge of the step should be marked to improve contrast between the step and edge. These features make the stairs safer for all users, including staff. Wherever possible, wearing of sensible footwear should be promoted.

Where an individual’s mobility, balance or other conditions puts them at risk of falls , an assessment should be completed, which can consider whether access to the stairs is appropriate and under what circumstances. Where they are mobile, but are at risk of falls, the views of the individual, care professionals and family representatives should be considered as part of any assessment when deciding whether access to the stairs is appropriate. Some stairs (e.g. steep cellar stairs) may not be suitable for use by residents with mobility or balance issues and may present a significant risk. Where wheelchairs or mobility scooters are used near access points at the tops of stairs, suitable controls should be put in place to reduce the risk of falls.”

Waux strives to give the best advice for product specification and suitability, installation, and care. We fully support the guidelines set on by HSE and ensure that our customers are aware of the regulations, so that together we can improve pedestrian safety.

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