Why is it a threat to stair safety and how can it be avoided?
When stairways appear more like a ramp rather than series of clearly defined stair treads, they can pose a threat to safety. "Ramp Effect" significantly increases the chance of mis-stepping and falling forward, which can result in serious injury.
In the absence of adequate visual cues, a stairway is navigated more by expectation rather than positive identification of the treads' actual position.
What contributes to ramp effect?
1) Stairs with uniform colour.
2) No contrasting colour on the stair edge.
3) Poor lighting.
Which type of stairs are most prone to ramp effect?
1) Steel open grate industrial treads.
2) Stairs with painted treads.
How to avoid visual ramp effect
The best way to avoid ramp effect is to aim for a luminance contrast of at least 30%.
A bright yellow colour is ideal. Anti-slip paint is ineffective and should be avoided as it actually creates a slip hazard. Brightly coloured, anti-slip stair nosings are the best solution. They are robust, provide excellent luminance contrast and do an excellent job at defining the edge of stairs. Quality stair treads provide the necessary visual definition, and prevent the foot from slipping forward.
Please contact ABS West to find out more about our stair safety products. We offer some of the best products on the market for both industrial and architectural applications. We understand the challenges relating to stair safety and have comprehensive knowledge of Australian building codes and guidelines.