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Outdoor Steps and Rails

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Before you buy access solutions, consider the points below:

If the only safe access at home has outdoor steps, there are some solutions that might reduce the risk when using steps.

Be aware that the height and depth of the step will affect safe use.

  • Ensure a step is deep enough to accommodate any mobility aid that is used:
    • If using a stick or crutch, the step needs to be about 45cm deep
    • If using a walking frame, the step needs to be about 60cm deep
    • If using a 4-wheeled walker, the step needs to be about 90 cm deep
  • Half steps can be used to reduce the height of a single step by creating 2 shallower steps. Freestanding half-steps, made from metal or weather-resistant plastic are available
  • Handrails can make steps safer and easier to use if you have arm strength, range of movement, and hand grip strength for using the rails. Consider how you would use a handrail and whether you need a rail on one side of the steps or on both sides. Consider the ideal position for the rail which would be at a comfortable hand height for reaching
  • Half steps with integral handrails are available. If these need to be a permanent fixture outside, it is safer to choose a model with a ground fixing kit for safety and stability
  • Wall-fitted outdoor grab handles are usually 30cm, 46cm, or 60cm long and can be fitted within safe reach on the wall, either on one or both sides of the steps
  • Longer outdoor handrails can be fitted to the ground or the wall alongside the steps, within safe reach when going up or down the steps. These rails should be fitted by an experienced builder who will check that the surfaces are suitable and safe with no risk of damage to wiring or pipe work, and without blocking access

If you are at risk of falling when moving about at home or when going out, contact Care Direct at 0345-155-1007 to ask for assessment at home.