Uneven stair riser heights

Uneven stair riser heights

Tripping occurs when a person unexpectedly catches their foot on an object or surface. In most cases people trip on low obstacles that are not easily noticed such as uneven stair riser heights and or stair tread widths, uneven edges in flooring, loose mats.

Common trip hazards on stairs include:

  • Uneven stair riser heights
  • Different stair tread widths
  • Ridges in floors or carpets
  • Worn floor coverings or broken tiles
  • Cracks in floors
  • Changes in floor level
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Inadequate handrail heights
  • Obstructed vision
  • Obstacles in traffic areas.

Many stairway accidents occur due to poor maintenance keep stair treads & coverings clean and in good condition. There should be no excessive wear, missing treads or loose treads. Carpeted stairs should be in good condition with no noticeable deterioration. Never use stairs for storing objects. Do not carry items in the hands on stairs, and do not rush up or down stairs.

For the design of stairs:

  1. All risers and treads should be uniform throughout a flight of stairs.
  2. Variations in the riser and tread should be reasonable—the riser ranges from 150mm – 175mm and the tread ranges from 225mm – 320mm, trips can easily occur for risers less than 75mm.
  3. The elevation of any flight of stairs should be designed between 15° and 55°.
  4. A landing should be introduced every 16 steps in a flight of stairs.
  5. Consider whether handrails are required, and if so they must meet Australian Standards


You should have a continuous handrail on your stairs that can be grasped easily. “Continuous” means from the first step to the last with no breaks. Make sure that the outside diameter of the rail material is between 30mm and 50mm – any wider and it’s not easily graspable. The height should be between 1000mm to ( Australian Standards ).

For lighting design:

  • Ensure both internal and external stairways are well lit.
  • Areas such as corridors, walkways leading to stair cases staircases & lifts must be well lit.

For your building, pest, strataasbestos, mould, ventilation, drainage, safe house inspection requirements call Sarah at East Coast Building Inspections 0422 081 023 servicing Wollongong, Shoalhaven, Southern Highlands, Ulladulla, Sutherland & Eurobodalla



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