This week, our Fall Product Spotlight series continues with a special look at one of the most common, simple, and yet exceedingly dangerous structures known to commercial business facilities: Stairs. With the unpredictable weather patterns of Fall coming soon, weatherproofing staircases while minimizing exposure to slip-and-fall liability should be at the top of your business’s to-do list. In this article, we will explore the anatomy of the common staircase, identify the most dangerous areas, and review the different stair treads / anti-slip rubber tiles that are to be installed to keep stairways dry, clean, and safe.
The Anatomy of the Staircase
Understanding the “anatomy” of the staircase is a critical first step in selecting the right products. In general, a staircase consists of 4 main elements:
- The surface of the step, or the flat portion on to which you step.
- The rise of the step, or the vertical face that runs perpendicular to each stepping surface.
- The landing, or the flat / elongated open space that extends resides between each flight of stairs.
- The handrails that run along the edge of the steps and landing area.
Not all staircases have each of these components. For example, a simple concrete staircase of 6 or 8 steps may not have a landing or a handrail. These short sets of stairs are designed to help pedestrians cross a relatively short vertical or horizontal distance, and their inherent safety does not necessarily warrant landings or handrails.
By contrast, the stairwells in commercial buildings are designed to help pedestrians traverse tall vertical distances of 2 stories or more. As such, these stairwells have each of the 4 components listed above.
Deciding What to Cover: Stepping Surfaces, Rises, and Landings
Next, it is important to consider which elements of the staircase need covered in order to maintain safety. The goal of stair tread installation is to make slick, potentially dangerous staircases a safer place. With that in mind, assess your staircase according to the following:
- Stepping Surfaces: The surfaces of each step will always need to be covered with stair treads to prevent slip-and-fall accidents, simply because individuals (sometimes carelessly) step on them with a majority of their weight. Care must be taken to apply a stair tread that will provide adequate traction, remain resistant to environmental damage, and stay firmly affixed to the step.
- Landings: Landings are the second-most important portions to cover. These areas are prone to accidents because individuals often cross them quickly and at an angle (when rounding from one flight to another, for example). When retrofitting this kind of staircase, it is important to consider applying non-slip vinyl or rubber circular disc tiles to the landing areas for added safety.
- Rise: Though they do not receive direct pressure from individuals who are climbing the stairs, risers are nevertheless an important element of the staircase that warrants coverage. Risers preserve the structural integrity of the staircase as a whole. Moreover, risers can be color-coordinated with stair treads and other elements of décor to add an aesthetic touch that will pull everything together. Products like the Rubber Stair Cove Riser, for example, are available in a variety of colors to match other rubber stair tread applications.
Important – A Note on Signage: Never underestimate the importance of large, legible, and highly visible signs. Placing a simple sign at the top of a stairway that reads “Caution: Stairway Ahead” is a simple and effective way to remind guests to proceed with caution.
Prepare for Fall: Shop Stair Treads on Eaglemat.com
This fall, take proactive steps towards accident-prevention by ensuring that all staircases—both inside, and out—are retrofitted with stair treads. Stair treads are a cost effective and long-lasting means of protecting facility guests and employees alike. These protective treads are available in a variety of materials and surface textures to give your business the flexibility to cover staircases of any size.
Shop our Stair Treads Online Store today, and receive free shipping for each online order! Eagle Mat carries industry-leading stair treads, risers, and landing tiles in rubber, vinyl, and aluminum styles.