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Designing safe stairs and flooring

Employers are required to ensure that workplaces do not pose a risk to workers. This requirement also applies to the design of stairs and flooring, as this has a direct impact on workplace safety and on the risk of workplace accidents.

To ensure that workplace stairs and flooring do not present a hazard, their design should, in addition to the aspects of operability and aesthetics, also take account of user-friendliness. Within this field of action, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) aims to promote a holistic view of the design of stairs and flooring as described above. Among other things, BAuA therefore uses the findings of its research projects to derive practical recommendations. Results from the research also directly influence the creation of national and European regulations.

Falling accidents on stairs

Accident analyses show that falling accidents on stairs are not always caused by technical defects. Other possible factors include, for example, poor adaptation to structural parameters or inadequate lighting. The same applies to the nature of floor coverings.

Psychological and technical aspects in design

Based on systematic studies, BAuA provides a series of recommended courses of action that aid the safe design of stairs and flooring. These range from technical aspects, such as sufficiently sized steps as a basic requirement for safety, to aspects of cleanliness and lighting and aspects of perceptual psychology in relation to colouring.