A maintenance planner was descending a set of stairs inside an older facility when one of the rubber stair tread coverings came completely loose and slid, causing him to lose his footing and fall approximately 10 feet down the stairs. The fall resulted in a shoulder injury that required a surgical repair. The planner was holding the stair railing with his left hand as he lost his footing and tried to arrest the fall by gripping the railing tightly. The loose tread remained in one piece and the planner "rode" the tread as he fell to the bottom of the stairs.
Stair tread covers in aging facilities can experience adhesive failure that is not readily evident, creating a potential trip/slip hazard that is unknown to personnel who utilize the stairs. Inspection and repair activities need to consider the age and condition of all treads on a set of stairs when indications of failure are noted, and replace similar treads before they fail.
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