20 Jun 2015
Stairs present a considerable scaling danger as we age. The older we get, the riskier stairs become. There are plenty of statistics about falling on stairs, but the authorities whose statistics matter are the National Safety Board and the National Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to them, fatalities from falling rank number two in deaths at the workplace. Their bodies are in better conditions to recover from a fall. Falls have either placed number one or number two in deaths at the workplace for the last 40 years.
When people take the stairs, they do not stop to consider the dangers of stairs. They have muscle memory trained in their legs to be able to ascend or descend a set a stairs without having to pause and think.
There are many causes of stair-related injury, but they all have one result: people fall. Falling is the result of one of two conditions:
- Unsafe Acts
- Unsafe Conditions
The majority of falls are because of unsafe acts. That is not to say elderly people are reckless. They move slower. Their wisdom in their old age might have taught them a thing or two about the dangers of stairs and the need to be careful. Among the elderly, unsafe conditions are much more likely than unsafe acts, like talking on a cellphone or carrying a heavy load down stairs.
What conditions make the elderly prone to falling accidents? Poorly built staircases, a grandmother tripping over a skirt tail she is wearing, or a grandfather with untied shoes, to name a few.
Poorly built staircases can mean several things, from a rickety or weak set of stairs, stairs that are too steep, or lack of decent hand railings. The safest sets of stairs are those where the rise is short, and the tread is wide. More injuries occur on steep stairs with a misjudged step than on those that are broad and flat.
Unsafe acts include carrying things upstairs and mental distractions, like a cell phone, watch, or even talking. If you carry things upstairs, make sure you can have at least one hand on the handrail. Extra precaution needs to be taken when traveling on stairs where you know the conditions are unsafe, such as wet or ice porch steps in the winter.
Using stairway safety, like using as much of the stair tread and hand rails, only takes a small change in our daily behavior. The risks are real, and in many elderly cases, the result is fatal. Minor changes and a shift in your realization of the dangers of stairs might save your life or the lives of our loved ones.someday.