Photograph of a stair that is a real trip hazard. Safety Checklist for Stairs, Railings, Landings

  • CHECKLIST for STAIR INSPECTIONS - CONTENTS: Stair, railing, guardrail, landing, tread, and step inspection checklist to check against stair, step, landing & railing specifications & codes.Stair & railing inspection form. Stair & railing safety hazards list in checklist form
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about how to inspect steps, stairs, railings, banisters, landings, and balconies for safety and proper construction

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Here we provide an actual data collection checklist for stair and railing inspection.

While no checklist is ever technically exhaustive, the list serves as an aid in learning how to inspect stairs, steps, landings, railings, balconies for safety and proper construction

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Stair Inspection Checklist & Form

Our page top photo shows unsafe exterior stairs at a New York City home entrance. Below we provide a stair inspection checklist that outlines information to collect during a field investigation of the condition of an interior or exterior stairway for safety defects. Having investigated cases of severe injury related to falls and railing collapses we developed this field data collection checklist. We also include references to key documents on building codes and stair and railing safety.

Stair Inspection Notes and Observations

RE Case:.
Inspection Date & Conditions:.
Total Stairway Rise..
Total Stairway Run..
Landing top dimensions ..
  ht. vs. int. floor..
  Entry door swing in/out..
Landing intermediate dims. ..
Landing bottom dimensions..
Tread width = stair width..
Tread depth (horizontal)..
Individual Tread Conditions
1 Tread, riser ht./condition..
2 Tread, riser ht./condition..
3 Tread, riser ht./condition..
4 Tread, riser ht./condition..
5 Tread, riser ht./condition..
6 Tread, riser ht./condition..
7 Tread, riser ht./condition..
8 Tread, riser ht./condition..
9 Tread, riser ht./condition..
10 Tread, riser ht./condition..
11 Tread, riser ht./condition..
12 Tread, riser ht./condition..
Tread nose (indic. variation)..
Tread level F-R (indic var)..
Tread level L-R (indic var)..
Railing Conditions
Railing height @..
Railing height @..
Railing height @..
Railing security..
Railing cross section/Shape.
Baluster Conditions
Baluster spacing ..
2nd Railing height @ ..
2nd Railing height @ ..
2nd Railing height @ ..
Lighting Conditions
Lighting/Switch at/watts/condition..
Other Observations:
© Copyright 2017 Daniel Friedman

Notes to Table of Stair & Railing Defects/Checklist

  • 1st Tread = bottom
  • Structural conditions to observe include connections, proper number and type of fastener, spans, condition of materials.
  • Subtle details such as a wooden exterior stair tread installed upside down as we explain at WOOD FLOOR DAMAGE, (bark side up - it should be placed "down") can lead to cupping which can cause algae or ice and a subsequent slip and trip hazard.
  • Circular stairs pose special problems concerning tread shape, potential walking area, railing design.
  • Handrails pose special considerations beyond height and security, such as graspability, shape, condition.
  • Report other construction details, structural connections, modifications, loose connections, support, posts, weather exposure/covering, weathering, rot, tread damage, tread nose wear/damage, moss, algae, cupping, splitting, tread connection and support (below), rail obstructions, rail grip, stairway obstructions, permits & "CO" obtained/missing)

Also see Building Safety Hazards Guide.


Continue reading at STAIRS, RAILINGS, LANDINGS, RAMPS - INSPECTIONS, CODES or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

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