Falls on StairsWoman after a slip and fall on a stairwell in San Diego

A staircase or stairwell must be well-lighted and have sturdy handrails on each side; the handrails must be of a safe height for the average person. A person using the stairwell should always have one hand on the handrail when going up or down the stairs. The steps should have the same rise and depth; they cannot alternate at this height. This is not always the case and is a significant factor that can produce serious injuries in a fall down the steps. You may have experienced some times you have started to go down a stairway, only to find that, as one foot went down, it struck the step below more quickly or later than you anticipated so that you were momentarily off balance but could catch yourself. If this happened to you, then you were indeed fortunate. Those not lucky so often wind up in the emergency room due to a fall accident. The stairs should be clean and free of any kind of debris. If you have things to carry up or down steps, making more trips with smaller packages and lighter packages enhances your safety.

Lighting Issues With Slip/Trip and Falls

Lighting can disguise a defect or hazardous condition. A change in the normal walking environment must be visible to the pedestrian and stand out from background stimuli. Glare issues and too much or too little contrast in the walking environment can reduce the efficiency of the eye. The walking surface should be evenly illuminated and have a brightness level of at least 20-foot candles - a basic quantitative unit of light measurement. And the contrast (ratio of dark to light) should be no less than 3-1 and no more than 20-1. The measure of luminosity and contrast requires a simple photographic light meter calibrated to read in foot candles.

Photographs of the accident scene can help the investigator evaluate the effect of light on the mishap. It is important to photograph the site correctly, ensuring the photographs represent the accident point from the eight compass positions. These photographs often provide unexpected insights. The camera should be held level and pointed straight ahead instead of at the floor. An example of the usefulness of pictures can be shown in the case of a woman who fell while walking through a bank. An examination of the photographs showed what had been missed during previous inspections of the scene: a dip in the floor, where a wall had been removed, which could not be seen from the area of traffic flow used by the victim.