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A checklist for stairway safety

Property owners in Illinois have an obligation to keep people safe on the property, doing what they can to prevent accidents. Since many slip and fall accidents happen on stairways, the following checklist can be very helpful, and owners should go over it frequently to make sure there are no clear hazards. Things to look for include:

-- Stairways where lights have burned out or where proper lighting was never installed.-- Stairs where the tread has worn off and the surfaces are very slick.-- Stairs that are uneven, which can be a tripping hazard.-- Banisters or handrails that are missing, broken or that have come loose from the wall.-- Stairs that have not been well marked; some people suggest painting the front edges of the stairs a bright color, especially at the top of a stairway.-- Handrails that are simply the wrong size for the space.-- Handrails that have been installed at the improper height, even though they may be in good condition otherwise.-- Exterior stairs that are dangerous due to water, ice or snow.-- Stairs or structures that are breaking down because of mold, rot or corrosion.

It is wise for property owners to check everything over when they first buy the buildings, but they need to then do the safety checks on a periodic basis, as many of these things-- such as a handrail working itself loose -- are going to get worse over time.

If you slipped and fell on a stairway that was not maintained property, you may be able to seek compensation.

Source: SlipNot, "Safety on Stairs," accessed June 18, 2015

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