The Fort Lauderdale slip and fall attorneys at MADALON LAW want you to understand how falling down the stairs may be the fault of the building owners.
By understanding the parts of a stairway and required safety standards, it becomes easier to tell the difference between someone falling due to their own carelessness and an accident that happened due to the negligence of the building owner.
Stairways – the basic parts and requirements of a stairway
Parts you may not be familiar with
- The Tread: The tread, commonly called the “step”, is the surface that we step on
- The Rise: This is the vertical distance from one step to another
- The Nosing: This is the horizontal distance that the edge of the tread extends beyond the riser
- The Dimensional Uniformity: The maximum variations in step depth and riser height in order to maintain dimensional uniformity. If there is too much of a variation, then the stairs will not have a “flow” to them and a person can lose their balance.
- Structural Integrity: There is a safety requirement for them to be sound and maintained.
- The Stringer: This is what forms the angle of the stairways and is what the steps are fastened to.
- The Landings: These are the areas at the top or between flights of stairs
Parts we all know and the safety requirements you may not know
- The Handrails: The railings must be placed at a specific height above the edge of the stair treads. For gripping purposes, the handrails are not allowed to be greater than 2” in width. Only a single handrail is required in one and two family structures, but in a commercial structure there is a requirement for two handrails – one on each side.
- The Guardrails: The railings that protect us from falling off the stairway or landing are required to be a minimum of 36” in height and designed to be able to withstand 200 lbs. of lateral force.
- The Lighting: Because proper lighting of a stairway is critical for safe usage, a minimum of one foot candle is required according to the International building code.
Types of Stairs
There are several different types of stairs. There are the more common straight run stairs and scissor stairs that we see almost everywhere. Then there are also metal pan stairs, Alternating tread stairs and winder stairs.
Even though all stairs must meet safety standards with guardrails, handrails and structural integrity, there are other types of stairs that have additional requirements to be up to code:
- Straight Run Stairs & Scissor Stairs: Need to meet the general safety standards
- Spiral Stairs: a spiral stairway is permitted in residential and commercial buildings that serve an area on not more than 250 square feet. The treads of the stairway need to meet certain measurement requirements and the minimum width of a spiral stairway is 26”.
- Metal Pan Stairs: OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) does not allow the use of pan stairways by workers until the pans are filled with concrete or temporary wood filler pieces
- Alternating Tread Stairs: These stairways are limited to be used only in factory, storage and high hazard buildings serving not more than 250 square feet. Alternating tread stairways can also be used in institutional buildings. It could be a prison with a guard tower, observation room or control room not more than 250 square feet.
- Winders: Winder treads also have strict inch requirements that must be met for safety standards
If you have slipped, fallen and are now injured from an accident, then you need to contact a law firm that is familiar with these cases and knows what to look for and be able to identify what happened. Contact the Fort Lauderdale slip and fall attorneys at MADALON LAW today for your free consultation.