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Unlocking the Stairwells

Big benefits – low risks

Fact Sheet
Legal Memo
Healthy Neighborhoods

Building owners and managers sometimes keep stairwells locked because of concern about liability for injuries – but our research finds that accessible stairs appear to pose no more legal risk than other common areas within a building. Owners should already be maintaining stairs for use during emergencies.

So long as reasonable care is taken, opening stairwells for use by employees or the public is not likely to lead to any significant increase in risk for building owners, managers, or tenants.

Available for download are a flyer on stairwell liability, a fact sheet outlining the benefits and risks of opening up office stairwells, a legal memo on this issue, and the executive summary. 

You may also be interested in our fact sheet, Moving in the Right Direction, which addresses liability concerns related to workplace physical activity programs for low-wage workers.