HURST, Texas, July. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) data, Stairs, Ramps and Landings are ranked as number one on their list of the most dangerous products in homes and contribute to more than 7 million emergency room visits and 36,338 deaths each year.

In 2020 more than 1.1 million Americans over the age of 65 were transported to an emergency room for a stairway related injury. “Far too many people are hurt and lives lost due to stairway falls,” says Russell Kendzior, Founder and President of the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), “and even most troubling is that most falls can be prevented.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Every 20 minutes an older adult will die as a result of a fall
  • 3 million older adults are treated in an emergency room for a fall
  • More than 800,000 patients are hospitalized each year for a fall, most because of a head injury or hip fracture

The elderly are the most vulnerable. “There are so many risks associated with stair usage ranging from short or narrow treads whose edges (nosings) become worn and slippery over time, inappropriate stair surface materials which do not provide enough traction, and poor stair lighting which can be extremely dangerous for elderly individuals who often have impaired vision and find step edge identification difficult. A simple misstep in descent can result in a life-altering fall. This is even true if the person is familiar with the stairway. And although handrails are helpful in maintaining a stair users balance, they rarely can arrest a fall.”

Surprisingly there are very few building standards or safety requirements for residential stairway design and construction. But that may soon change. The NFSI B101 committee on slip, trip and fall prevention is working towards establishing a stairway safety standard which will outline the requirements for a safely designed stairway.

About the National Floor Safety Institute

Founded in 1997 as a 501c3 non-profit organization, NFSI’s mission is to “aid in the prevention of slips, trips, and falls through education, research, and standards development.” The NFSI is the champion for slip, trip and fall prevention and provides third-party independent product testing, educational training programs, and oversees the NFSI B101 committee which authors slip, trip and fall prevention standards.