Following in the perilous footsteps of America's litigious culture — where personal compensation injury claims seem prevalent — the Australian construction industry is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of pedestrian safety in public spaces.
Slips and falls in supermarkets, retail stores and recreation centres are commonplace in situations where building design has failed to incorporate pedestrian safety systems. When accidents occur, injured pedestrians are not only entitled to claim for medical expenses, but for loss of income, pain and suffering — which can result in catastrophic costs for liable building owners.
Owners, managers, occupiers and employers have a duty of care in maintaining a safe environment for visitors and staff. These bodies can be sued for public liability if they are found to be negligent in providing this — especially if this negligence results in accident or injury to an individual. That’s why it’s integral for building owners to take appropriate pedestrian safety precautions in order to protect themselves, and the public.
What are safety stair tread nosings? /how do they reduce the risk of injury… and potential litigation?
Safety stair tread nosings are used on constructed surfaces such as stairs, platforms, walkways and ramps to reduce the risk of pedestrian slips and falls, and to enhance public safety. They may also be referred to within the construction industry as step treads, anti-slip nosings, non-slip treads, slip resistant nosings and step nosings.
Installation of safety stair tread nosings is essential for compliance with a range Australian and International building codes and Occupational Health and Safety regulations. They are also subject to slip-resistant testing in accordance with The Australian and New Zealand Standard 4586-2004 Slip resistance classification of new pedestrian surface materials. Latham's range of Asbraloy and Asbrabronz stair safety treads not only undergo rigorous slip resistant testing by an independent NATA accredited laboratory, the products are continually assessed through luminance testing and fire testing to ensure they continue to meet industry safety standards.
Assessing risk for slips and falls
While the majority of safety stair tread installations occur during the construction process for new buildings, older buildings are not always equipped with the required pedestrian safety systems to meet modern standards. As such, it is recommended that such buildings conduct a slip resistant risk assessment to determine the need for pedestrian safety installations.
As slip resistance can deteriorate over time through foot traffic, cleaning and everyday wear, ongoing testing should take place in all buildings — old or new — to ensure current systems remain effective.
Improving public safety with safety stair tread nosings: what are the options?
If it’s found that a building’s surfaces fail to provide adequate pedestrian protection, there's many options for addressing the issue without the need for major renovation, through the simple installation of safety stair tread nosing.
Latham offer a complete range of products to suit all surfaces and applications, regardless of floor finish. Our Asbraloy Aluminium and Asbrabronz Solid Brass Safety Stair Tread Nosings are suitable for stone, tile, timber, terrazzo, concrete, pavers, brick, vinyl and carpet finishes. They’ve been specifically developed to complement existing architectural design, are available in a range of colours, styles and profiles, and can be either surface mounted or recessed.
Regardless of your application, there will be a product within the Latham range to suit. It’s a small investment to saving builders and property owners a lot of hassle in the long run … and a critical measure for ensuring the safety of public visitors.