Hold that Handrail

Why should you hold the handrail when going up and down stairs?

I have worked in the Nuclear Power industry in the UK for 35 years and the fact that you always hold the handrail when walking up and down stairs has always been drilled into me in that time. Once someone challenges you for forgetting to do so, it is so embarrassing, that you never want to do so again. So, when I arrived at a nuclear facility that didn’t uphold this rule, then I was mortified. To me, its like dropping litter in the street, you don’t do it in case your mother sees. So I wrote this piece and gave a short 5 minute safety presentation to the team.

I challenged the team to challenge anyone they saw not holding the handrail. After a day, someone came up to me and said that they had done just that to someone walking up the stairs. The response came sharply back “I’m an Adult. Don’t tell me what to do!” so more work to do but here is the presentation:

More than 1,000 people die every year in the UK after falling down stairs (BBC report)

Most of the 100,000 people getting injured on stairs each year are elderly and frail. But even if you are fit and healthy and traverse stairs without incident many times a day you are still performing a potentially unsafe act every time you choose to ignore this safety instruction.

You are not putting “Safety First”. A Prime Value in many companies.

Perhaps, a more difficult behaviour is to feel confident enough to “challenge” other people’s unsafe behaviour and to accept the challenge of others.

The readiness to challenge and accept challenge is a key element of developing a Safety Culture at your site and throughout the supply chain


Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Do Hold the Handrail when going up or down stairs
  2. Do Challenge others who don’t.
  3. Do Accept the challenge of others if you are in the wrong
  4. Don’t carry coffee, open laptops, update social media.IMG_2912
  5. Don’t slide down the bannisters



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