Stairway Safety

Stairway Safety

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Join HSI Chief Safety Officer Jill James as she visits environmental health and safety professionals in their workplaces to explore important workplace safety topics. This video explains what to look for when inspecting work stairs, how to safely use these stairs, and to be mindful of the different stair components.

Video Transcript:

My name is Jill chief safety officer with HSI. I'm a former OSHA inspector here to help you identify and correct workplace safety hazards.

Here we have a set of stairs that are used in a workplace to gain access to a work area for employees. Stairs like this are a great way to eliminate needing to use ladders in a work environment, it's a safer way for employees to access where they need to go.

A couple of things for you to know when you're going to inspect your work stairs are the following: You want to make sure that the stair treads themselves are slip resistant like what we have here. Another thing to look for is that the distance between each of your stairs is exactly the same. Why is that important? Well it's important because our brains are wired to remember what's step size we took the last time and we don't want to cause a trip as we're ascending or descending the stairs. The other thing to know is anytime you have four or more risers or steps on a set of stairs, you have to have what's called a standard handrail or guardrail system in place.

Now a standard handrail system is made up of a top rail which is what we have right here, but it also needs to have what's called a mid rail right here in this particular set of stairs is missing its mid rail and so we need to get that put in place. That anytime you have a fall distance of four or more feet from the ground to the ground below which is often common when you have four more risers if they're spaced 12 inches apart that you provide fall protection for your employees and so that can come in the form of a standard handrail or guardrail system and then also remember to be mindful of the top of the stairs which is where the fall hazard exists in this case we don't have that problem because this stairs itself are moved up against the work area and so an employee can't fall there. Now stairs shouldn't have to be that complicated, and they're really not if you know what to look for and think of it this way: it's a way to prevent slips trips and falls in your work environment.

I hope you gained a safety skill today if you know someone who needs this go ahead and pass it on.

Safety is everyone's business.

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