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Safe design of the working environment

Employers are required to ensure that workplaces do not pose any risk to employed persons. BAuA's research makes an important contribution to determining these requirements and making them applicable at the practical level.

Stairs and floor coverings as sources of danger

To ensure that stairs and floor coverings do not pose any hazards in workplaces, their user-friendliness should also be taken into account in their design, and come before factors such as functionality and aesthetics. The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) aspires to promote a holistic approach to the design of stairs and floor coverings in this particular area. For this purpose, BAuA derives recommendations for the practical level from the findings of its research projects. Moreover, the results of the research are incorporated directly into both the national and European regulations.

Analyses of accidents demonstrate that technical defects are not always responsible for accidents involving falls on stairs. Other factors can also come into play, such as poor adaptation to structural parameters and inadequate lighting. The same applies to the type or condition of the floor coverings.

Psychological and technical factors of the design

Based on systematic investigations, BAuA offers a series of recommended courses of action providing support with the safe design of stairs and floor coverings. These range from technical factors, such as adequately dimensioned steps as a basic safety requirement, to factors regarding cleanliness and lighting, through to the psychological perception factors of the colouration.

Other factors in focus

Stairs and floor coverings are not the only sources of danger in the workplace, however. Poor lighting, an unfavourable indoor climate and other physical factors, such as noise, optical radiation and electromagnetic fields, can also place employed persons under stress. For this reason, the impact of these factors is of key importance for both occupational safety and health and for the research conducted by BAuA.

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