Handrails, guards and stairway railings are a critical component to safety and there are countless safety standards that must be met when installing them. Almost 1 million people are killed or injured each year in stairway accidents. Property owners are responsible to make sure that the stairs, landings and entryways on their property have the proper safety features as required under the law and safety codes. In the event that people fall on someone’s property, the management company could be help responsible under the law if the required features are not in place, installed properly or adequately maintained.
Within stairways you will often see loose or broken railings or have stairways where the railings are only located on one side of the stairway. OSHA, BOCA and the safety codes for your area will have provisions that require that the railings be in good condition and be a certain height from the walking surface to ensure that people climbing the stairs have the ability to safely access the railing if need be. Additional common problems are the railing systems around walkways and ramps.
Virtually all of the shopping centers, malls and any place of business must have handicap accessible ramps that allow people in wheel chairs or people with physical limitations the ability to enter and exit the property. Based on the slope, width and length of the ramp, there may need to be railings and guards on the side or both sides of the ramp.
On the landings between flights of stairs and often within all exterior stairwells of buildings and parking garages you will see landings that expose persons to heights. These guards protect people from falling and like railings need to be a certain height and the bars to the guards need to be positioned so as to prevent people from squeezing between the rails. Rails are also often present near the edges of roofs, air conditioning systems or elevated platforms and again, need to be of a certain height to prevent persons from falling over them or between their rails. They provide fall protection and our firm utilizes OSHA and safety experts to investigate accidents to determine whether the guard rail system in place was installed and designed properly under OSHA.
While you may not have a disability, you still might have a cause of action against the property owner for an injury you sustained while traversing a ramp if the required codes and safety requirements were not met. Whether disabled or not, property owners have a duty to make sure their properties are in compliance with the law and if you were injured while working or visiting someone and you think that the railings, handrails or guardrails had something to do with your injury than please call our office immediately. The call and the advice are free and there may be aspects of your case and the possible negligence of the property owner that you were unaware of. We have a wealth of experience in these types of cases so take advantage of a no obligation free consultation at (312) 422-0500.