Occupational Therapy Advice and Information

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Solutions when the steps are too high:Info Icon

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    In addition to the provision of handrails at the steps to the main door to your property you have advised that there are still problems because the steps are too high for you to negotiate. Here are some straight forward solutions to this particular issue:

    • If there is only one step to negotiate into your property but you find it too high a simple solution would be to purchase either a plastic or a metal half step. This is a portable option to resolve the problem and does not require any fixtures or adaptation to the property.
    • Plastic half step – These provide a larger platform for you to step onto and steady yourself before attempting the next step. They are constructed from heavy outdoor plastic, which will not rust, and come complete with a slip resistant rubber mat. Dimensions of this step: 700 mm x 400 mm x 110 mm (27.5”x 16”x 4.5”)
    • Metal Half Step – These are manufactured from high quality aluminium and are ideal for where a step height is just too high to manage in one go. The nylon feet underneath can be adjusted by 38 mm (1.5”) to the level of the ground. This gives a safe level platform to step off or onto. There are 2 widths available, with the longer option having been designed so that it can be safely used by people who walking with a walking frame. Dimensions: 762 mm x 406 mm x 105 mm (30” x 16” x 4”)  or 762 mm x 610 mm x 105 mm ( 30” x 16” x 4”)
    • Both options will accommodate weight of up to 29 stone/190 kg.
    • These items of equipment can be ordered through mail order catalogue companies such as  ’Ways and Means’. Their website: https://www.waysandmeans.co.uk enables direct and simple ordering on-line or the telephone number is 0845 3225979 to either order a catalogue or equipment from the catalogue.
    • Permanent half step/additional steps -
    • Single steps without rails should be avoided wherever possible because they present a significant trip hazard and where the change in level is less than 300mm then a ramp/sloping path should always be considered as the best option wherever possible.
    • The rise and going of each step should be uniform and slip resistant.
    • Step nosing should preferably contrast in colour to the step surface.
    • A step should not overlap the one below but if this is not totally impossible then the nosing should not project over the tread below by more than 25 mm.
    • Where possible a level landing should be provided at both the top and bottom of a flight of steps and should be no less than the surface width of the flight i.e. if the clear width of the step is 1000mm then the landing should also be 1000mm in depth. It should never be less than 900mm.
    • The rise to be a maximum of 75mm/ 100mm/ 150mm/ 180mm - (A maximum of 100mm rise is recommended for Walking Equipment Users).
    • The going to be a maximum of 350mm/ 450mm/ 600mm/ 650mm - (650mm is ideal for people who need to use walking frames as there is sufficient room for both the frame and the User to be safely accommodated on the step).
    • Ideally the clear width of the step should be a minimum 1000mm with handrails fitted, which results in the actual width of each step needing to be 1200mm, but this will depend upon your environment and particular situation. It is important to provide the maximum width possible.
    • Each step provided should be slip resistant and have visibility strips provided on the edge/nosing of each step, where necessary and appropriate.
    • Handrails should extend 300 mm beyond the finish of the steps and have a closed end. They should not cause any obstruction and extend into the route of travel.


    Where the height of the step/steps up into the property require more than a straightforward half step and/or rail then it is important to consider a number of factors before providing additional steps:-

    Do you have a visual impairment? Click ‘Yes’ link below

    Do you use walking equipment and/or a wheelchair and would a gentle sloping path/ramp be a better option? Click ‘No’ link below

For more information of what is the best option for you, get in touch with us.