Slips and falls are the leading cause of injury in the United States. Outdoor stair cases can be particularly unsafe in this regard. When ice and debris litters the walkway of an outdoor staircase, this can lead to trips and can also cause the staircase to deteriorate. These tips will help you make your outdoor staircase safer to use, preventing the chance of a slip and fall.
Cut Back Bushes
If your outdoor staircase is adjacent to your landscaping, keep the landscaping well-trimmed. Be sure to carry away any debris left in the vicinity of the stair case when you perform maintenance like pruning.
Improve the Lighting
Install outdoor lighting along the entire length of the staircase. This will ensure that your visitors, guests and members of your household are able to see properly while using the staircase, even when darkness falls.
Don't Store Anything On the Stairs
Storing objects on the stairs can create a trip hazard. In addition, storing anything on wooden stairs can cause moisture to become trapped beneath the object, which in turn will cause the stairs to rot. Keep the stairs clear of all objects, including planters and other decorative items.
Install Handrails On Both Sides
Installing a handrail on both sides of the staircase will ensure that anyone using the staircase will have access to a handrail, no matter what their position on the stairs. In addition, some widths of stair cases require the installation of a handrail as per building codes. If your stair case has only one handrail, speak with a contractor about installing a second handrail.
Perform Annual Maintenance
Every spring, inspect your outdoor stairs for structural weaknesses, and determine whether or not maintenance is necessary. If your stairs are made of wood, plan to stain and reseal the stairs every couple years, as necessary. To determine whether or not any boards have rotted or deteriorated and need to be repaired or replaced, stand on each individual step and bounce up and down gently. The stair should not feel soft when you bounce.
Inspect the stairs for signs of wood rot including:
Replace any stairs that display these signs. If you find evidence of wood-eating insects, contact a pest-control company immediately to have the entire staircase examined and treated.
Maintain Your Gutters
If your staircase is flush against the house, maintaining your gutters will be an important part of keeping your stairs safe. Your gutters carry water and runoff away from your house. When your gutters clog, rainwater and debris will puddle in the areas around your house, including in the area around the staircase. In winter and during rainy seasons, this can create a serious slip and fall hazard.
Properly maintaining your outdoor staircase can reduce your liability in the event that a guest or visitor slips and falls on your property. However, if someone should fall on your outdoor staircase, contact a slip and fall attorney to help ensure that you are not found to be at fault. A skilled and experienced attorney (like those at Putnam Lieb) will work to help you prove that the fall was not due to your negligence.
I'll be up front: I have a criminal record. As someone who's spent lots--and lots--of time looking for a job in my life, I've gotten used to being up front with this fact. It's difficult to get hired with this on my record, and frankly, it never gets less scary to have to tell an interviewer about it. But that doesn't mean I'm unemployable. I'm a hard worker who can bring a lot to any company. And I also know what an employer needs to do for me. I know my rights. There's no federal law protecting me from discrimination due to my record, but there are plenty of state laws that make it a little easier for me. If you're looking for a job and you have a criminal record, read through this information. Protect yourself during a job search. Know your rights.