Many Missouri workplaces feature stairwells to access upper and lower floors, which makes it important that stairs be as safe as possible for workers and building visitors to use. However, not all stairwells will be entirely safe. For a number of reasons, people can slip and fall down a flight of stairs and suffer serious injury.

Findlaw lists several possible causes for a person to fall down stairs. In times of wet weather, people may track in snow, ice or water onto stairs, which can increase slip risks. Debris may also be left on stairs. For example, someone might drop a piece of trash as they climb down the steps, such as an aluminum wrapper left over from lunch. Sometimes children or parents may unknowingly drop toys onto steps.

Structural problems can contribute to falls. The stair railing may not be secure, which can cause a person to slip when the railing he or she is holding onto comes loose. The steps could also be uneven. An individual can put a foot down on a step but suddenly sink down if the step contains a pit or fissure, resulting in a loss of balance. Components of the stairway may also be worn out from years of use. Additionally, a design flaw, such as a stairwell lacking a guard rail, might be the culprit.

Injuries sustained by falling down stairs can be severe, which makes it a serious matter for the owner of the property as the owner may be held responsible for a person getting hurt based on the doctrine of premises liability. If a worker sustained injury on stairs while on the job, the worker may file a workers’ compensation claim.

It should be noted that not all stair falls will necessarily result in liability. The owner of the building must have been aware that the stairs were not safe and took no action to rectify the situation, or the owner should have been aware of the danger. The degree to which the owner of the building or workplace management knew about the danger presented by the condition of the stairs will help determine liability.

This article is intended to inform readers about personal injury and is not to be taken as legal advice.