Glass Stairs: Issues (02-28-20)

Glass staircases are regularly found in an assortment of environments. Kim and Steinfeld investigated the safety of winding glass staircases: “The purpose of this study was to assess the safety of a winding glass stairway by observing the behavior of stair users. . . .    Video observations were conducted in a retail store with a glass stairway (GS) and a shopping mall with a conventional stairway (CS). . . .  On the glass stairway, more users glanced down at the treads (GS: 87% vs. CS: 59%); fewer users diverted their gaze away from the stairs (GS: 54% vs. CS: 67%); and handrail use was higher (GS: 32% vs. CS: 24%). Incident rates were much higher on the glass stairway (6.2%) compared to the conventional stairway (0.7%). . . .  Recent laboratory research suggests that stairway users may behave more cautiously using stairways with glass treads but the results from this study demonstrate that the benefit of increased caution can be negated in real world conditions.”

Karen Kim and Edward Steinfeld.  2019.  “The Effects of Glass Stairways on Stair Users:  An Observational Study of Stairway Safety.”  Safety Science, vol. 113, pp. 30-36, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2018.11.010