Essay Example on Assignment 1 Stairways Fall Prevention

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Assignment 1 Stairways Fall Prevention Stairs with all types have been used since old times and they have been always hazardous so people fall from them get hurt or even they get killed Most of the stairway falls happens because people lose balance Falling down from stairs can cause major life threatening injuries The stairway falling patients are having higher mortality rates than non stairway fall patients like who fall down stairs like victims of motor vehicles accidents burns other types of falls suicide etc In fact millions of people are treated for fall related injuries as stairways falls significantly cause a high number of head injured patients causing head trauma There are two very different types of causes one factor is the presence of floor obstacles falls are associated with dizziness and fainting and other individual health factors most of such falls happens on residential stairways Researchers found out that most of the falls on stairs are either slipping which is the primary cause of stair falls most of them happens when people are walking down the stairs another one is the absence of handrails cause a large percentage of falls on stairs that result in injuries Also unexpected location of stairs leads to many falls For instance stairs of just one or two steps in a hallway or doorway can be very hazardous in particular Stair design stair construction and maintenance stair placement stair use handrails are some of the accident encouraging factors that contribute to stair falls Stair Design Stairs especially with one or two steps cause a high number of falls this is a design feature 



Thus if you are planning to have an extension or addition to a building you need to avoid differences in floor heights that require these few steps Treads that are less than 9 wide cause the highest number of missteps Research indicates the fact that the riser heights between 6 and 8 and tread widths of 10 to 13 are most comfortable for most people Best stair dimensions are 7 2 inch riser heights with either an 11 or 12 inch tread width This these dimensions should be used for designing stairs when considering remodeling or replacing a stairway Sometimes carpenters or contractors use old traditional building formulae for stairs which can be not informed by human factors research so a high attention should be given if adding or replacing any stairs Stair Construction and Maintenance One of the most important safety factors in the stair construction is having a dimensional uniformity in the tread widths and riser heights A 1 4 inch difference between adjacent riser heights can cause an accident Existing stairs that do not have uniform dimensions cause real hazards such stairs should be replaced with correctly built stairs Several reasons can cause tripping or slipping hazards so stairs should be kept clear and the broken treads should be replaced or repaired immediately as well as any torn carpets because they cause hazards Accidents can be more preventable by adding non slip surfaces on treads Broken lights over the stairs or a poorly lit stair cause fall hazard stairways shall be well lit Stair Placement Sometimes people are not aware of the presence of a stair as it can be with the same color and texture as surrounding surfaces and they can be poorly lit or marked which can cause difficulty to see That can cause people not to see that there is a change in the floor level By adding visual clues can give people attention to the stair or by changing floor materials and colors for example can help people to identify the change in floor levels Providing handrail for one or two steps may look as it is unnecessary but railing that protrudes from the wall surface adjacent to the stair give visual clue of its presence Stair Use Stair handrails helps in preventing falls when a loss of balance happens for users ascending or descending stairs they help users to quickly rebalance after slipping Handrails Templer 1992

A research done by McKee and Verney 1988 recommends that the height of the balustrade should be from 36 to 40 inches to be effective in preventing falls with the descending stairs however the height of handrails developed by the national laws and state building codes require a height of 30 to 34 inches Generally the Human Factors Design Handbook suggests a high handrail of 34 inches overall the dimension falls within the range required by most of the building codes The power grip optimizes the grip forces in the hand while the round shaped handrails with a diameter of about 1 5 inches maximize grip forces for adults and a diameter of between 1 125 and 1 25 inches maximizes grip forces for children Rectangular shaped handrails are usually easier to hold than round shaped railings but these handrails require a pinch grip which is the least effective grip to maximize the gripping forces in the human hand Falls on the stairs kill and injure many people in the United States each year by taking a human factors approach to stair design construction and maintenance many falls can prevent falling


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