Many people fall and are injured every year, and a great many of them fall on stairs. I’ve certainly slipped, tripped, and stumbled on stairs before, but fortunately have never been seriously injured. The worst that has ever happened to me has been a spilled drink and a sore rear end for a week. Unfortunately, many people are not nearly as lucky. Serious injuries and even deaths can occur. An elderly friend of mine recently fell down a flight of stairs and nearly miraculously only had a few bruises, although they were transported by ambulance to the hospital. Here are a few things you can do to help prevent injuries on stairs.
First of all, be aware when on stairs. Walk slowly and deliberately. Use the handrail if there is one. Look out for objects as well as snow, ice, or anything else that may be an obstacle or slippery. If there are lights and it is dark or low light, turn the lights on.
Secondly, no matter how much of a hurry you are in, do not run! It is not safe for children and certainly not safe for adults as well!
Carrying lots of things when transversing stairs is unsafe. Not only may they make you unstable, you may not be able to see where you are stepping. Take more trips and carry less on each trip if necessary. Better you take a little extra time than possibly hurt yourself.
Now there are a number of things you can do to stairs to keep them safe other than just the above things to be aware of when going up or down them.
Keep stairs clean. This means remove objects from your staircases and do not treat them like storage areas as many people do. Also regularly clean them of dirt and dust, and outside of snow, ice, leaves and other things that may blow or fall on them. There are even electric heated stir treads that will melt ice and snow.
Adding lights or better lighting may be appropriate. It is easy for people to watch where they step and avoid objects and obstacles when they can see well. In some areas you may even want to add lights on a motion detector so they turn on automatically. These are inexpensive and easy to install.
Handrails are great when they are sturdy. Make sure any handrails are sturdy and they may have loosened or otherwise become less effective over time. Consider adding handrails where you do not have any.
Make sure your stairs are study and noting is broken. Stairs can wear out. This includes handrails as mentioned above, as well as more. For example the stair treads, the actually part you step on can break or become over worn. These can be removed and replaced in many causes, or possibly covered by special treads sometimes called replacement stair treads. In some cases, stairs may need to be closed off for safety reasons until and unless they are repaired.
Non slip coverings can be added to many stairs and are appropriate. These can range from rubber to vinyl to wood, and even include very easy to apply non slip tape. There are options for every budget and location.