Lords debate steps on stairs as falls rise

House hears of a need for specific new build safety standards with estimates indicating a fatal stair fall every five days.


With large housebuilders declaring dividends of over £2bn last year, almost 40% of accidental injuries treated in A&E were from home accidents.

The correlation was made during a debate in the Lords new build measures to prevent such accidents – where RoSPA estimates that every five days there is a fatal fall on the stairs of a newly built home.

Declaring an interest as deputy president of RoSPA, Labour’s Lord Jordan referenced Government’s intention to build 300,000 homes a year in seeking assurance that the national accident prevention strategy approved standard would apply.

“Almost 40% of accidental injuries treated in hospital and emergency departments result from home accidents, the widespread adoption of this standard would significantly reduce stair-related injuries and fatalities.

Acknowledging the fall stats, MHCLG minister Lord Bourne told the House RoSPA would be part of “tightening” relevant guidance when the opportunity arose over the coming year.

Tory Baroness Gardner made the case for lifts in blocks, to which Lord Bourne conceded the importance of “looking in the round” at high-rise where residents were living longer.

“Most accidents in the home happen to people aged 65 or above and, as one would expect, that figure accelerates as people get older. Therefore, it is a particular concern and something we need to watch,” he said.

Lord Shipley raised reports of large housebuilders declaring dividends of over £2bn in 2018 as “sitting uncomfortably” with the RoSPA stats.

He said: “Given the low-space standards for new homes, too many defects in new homes and the rising number of accidents, might the Government heed the clear advice of the Royal Institute of British Architects, which is calling for building regulations to be strengthened rather than depending in part on the planning system for the regulation of space standards?”

Lord Bourne replied that it was right for builders to have a responsibility to adhere to the building regulations.

“We are looking at those regulations, it is clearly unacceptable that there are 6,000 deaths a year.

“I think that we can get that figure down and we are very keen to do so through appropriate guidance and regulations,” he said.