The call for safer stairs
Why call for safer stairs?
RoSPA has been campaigning for a change in the law to improve safety standards for stair design in order to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by falls. We are thrilled that the Government has now committed to consult on a change to the Building Regulations to make this happen.
On stairs that are designed to the British Standard, falls decrease by over 60 per cent, significantly reducing deaths and injuries - so why would we not take this simple action?
The purpose of our campaign
Improving safety standards for stair design will significantly reduce the number of people needlessly dying and getting hurt.
The journey so far
From our incredibly important coalitions with the housebuilding industry to our supporters in the House of Lords and beyond, learn about our journey to date.
Find out more about our aims and how you can get involved in preventing falls.
The purpose of our campaign
Falls on the stairs claim the lives of over 700 people every year. This is more than 17 times more than the number of lives lost on construction sites. There are also over 43,000 people hospitalised every year due to falls on stairs in the home. Improving safety standards for stair design will significantly reduce the number of people needlessly dying and getting hurt.
There is already an existing tried and tested British Standard (BS 5395-1) which does just this. It considers the dimensions of the stairs, their slip resistance and the provision of handrails. It is estimated that stairs in new homes built to the British Standard BS5395-1 would reduce the risk of falls by a staggering 60 per cent. Enshrining BS5395-1 into law would therefore save the NHS up to £5 million every year through accident reduction.
The Government has responded to our Safer Stairs campaign by committing to launch a consultation on updating the Building Regulations to include British Standard 5395-1 on stair design. It has pledged to complete the review “as expeditiously as possible, and certainly within the year”. However, our work at RoSPA doesn’t stop there as we will be continuing to put pressure on the Government to ensure that this change can be brought in as soon as possible.
The journey so far
Working in partnership with the building industry, MPs and a range of other organisations and political figures, RoSPA has been on a mission to improve the safety of stairs. Our journey began by calling for British Standard 5395-1 to be made part of the Building Safety Bill. We have now gained Government backing to have the standard enshrined into the Building Regulations, provided the results of the industry consultation are positive. We’d like to give our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported our campaign so far.
“Falls are a really important part of the work that ends up coming to our accident and emergency department. Anything that we can do to prevent them, such as the work RoSPA is doing looking at staircases is really, really important. Thank you for doing what you can to support this.”
Dr Julian Redhead
Medical Director, Imperial NHS Trust
“We are confident that it is technically and commercially feasible for us to achieve this standard”
Executive Director, Berkeley Group
“We put enormous focus on safety during the construction of our homes, and rightly so. But it is shocking to realise that the death toll from falls on stairs in the home claim the lives of over 700 people each year compared to the 39 deaths on construction sites. The wellbeing of our customers is at the heart of everything we do and it is absolutely our duty to do all we can to prevent loss of life. That is why we have made a commitment to voluntarily sign up to design our future homes to accord with the British Standard.”
Group Director of Orbit Homes
Building towards change
Read about our journey so far, all in one place.
The building regulations
View the speeches made in the House of Lords on enshrining British Standard 5395-1 into the Building Regulations on March 29 2022.
Safer Stairs - an introduction
Learn about the support our campaign has received and why Safer Stairs are so important.
House of Lords - Calling for an amendment to the Building Safety Bill
Watch the speeches made at the Lords Grand Committee on March 02 2022.
House of Lords – Speeches from our Presidential team
Watch the speeches made at the House of Lords on February 02 2022.
House of Commons speeches
Paul Maynard MP's House of Commons speeches in support of Safer Stairs in January 2022 and July 2021.
Share our messages on social media.
Help spread the message by downloading the Safer stairs infographic below
Get involved in preventing falls
Falls are a forgotten killer but simple changes can make the world of difference. Our Fall Fighter campaign offers free resources to help create a global fall fighting community – join us now.
Share your story
If you, or a loved one, have experienced the devastation that a fall on the stairs can cause, get in touch so we can work together to prevent others suffering