When you got hired for your job, you had to go through a safety orientation.

It covered a lot of topics like PPE, safe work procedures, and emergency response procedures. But it probably didn’t include any sessions on using the stairs.

Most of us take stairway safety for granted. We’ve gone up and down steps countless times throughout our lives. By now, it’s second nature.

But falling down stairways does happen, and the injuries that result from it can be very serious. So, it’s worth taking a moment to review the basics of stairway safety.

Use the Handrails

Most falls on stairways happen because someone loses their balance. Typically, those falls could have been avoided by simply holding the handrail.

Handrails must meet certain specifications and are designed to support the weight of a person’s body as they go up or down the stairs. You should hold onto the handrail as you go to help keep yourself steady. If you feel yourself slipping or losing your balance, hold onto it with both hands.

Carrying Things on Stairways

Carrying heavy or bulky items up or down the stairs increases your risk of falling.

If you can, avoid it altogether. If you’re carrying something you have to hold with both hands, take the elevator instead.

If that’s not an option and you need to use the stairs, make sure you do it carefully. Take your time and pay attention to each step you take. If the load limits your vision or is too heavy or bulky to hold easily and comfortably, get someone to help you carry it.

Watch Out for Other People

Crowded stairs can increase your risk of bumping into someone as you pass them. This can throw off your balance (and theirs), potentially leading to a fall.

If the stairway is too crowded, wait until it clears up before stepping foot on it.

Don’t try to rush past people on the stairs. Pay attention as you pass someone so you don’t accidentally bump them with your shoulder.

Avoid Distractions

And of course, don’t look at your phone while going up or down the stairs. Keep it in your pocket while you’re climbing or descending them.

Stairways are relatively safe. But if you add distraction to the mix, the risk of getting hurt multiplies.