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HELPFUL HINTS - Make Your Business Safe and Accessible for all.

STAIRS - (Inside the Building)

  • Ensure free from slip and trip hazards.
  • Make stair edges more visible by using bright yellow coloured tape or non-skid paint to highlight edges.
  • Use special lighting and warning signs to warn users of steep or irregular stairs.
  • Ensure stairs are uniform – the rises should be the same height (7”)
    and the tread should be the same width (11”).
  • Use handrails that are round with a circumference of 120mm.


  • Keep free from slip and trip hazards such as water, uneven surfaces.
  • Wash floors before opening in morning or after closing in evening.
  • Keep aisles free of clutter (boxes, merchandise, produce).
  • Keep exit routes free from obstructions.
  • Use slip-resistant floors to prevent falls if water or snow is tracked in from outside.


  • Provide handrails on any stairs or ramps coming into or in the building.
  • Doors to a public entrance should open easily with one hand – even for a person with limited dexterity.
  • Doors should have a wide entrance* (at least 81 cm) and should not have steps that could cause trips.
  • Use hydraulic springs to make heavy doors easier to open. This is a cost effective alternative to installing automatic doors.
  • Use non skid mats
  • Keep mats flat, clean and free of water and snow, using a mop constantly in the winter. Take mats up at night and hang to dry.
  • Provide seating that is a minimum of 18 inches from the ground and have arm rests.


  • Disabled parking space at least 12 ‘ wide and marked with a vertical sign.
  • Remove snow rather than ploughing it into piles that block pedestrian travel.
  • Provide adequate drainage where salt is used to melt snow, to prevent water from accumulating, freezing and creating a hazard.
  • Ensure that all pedestrian routes are clearly marked and all obstacles are brightly coloured.


  • Seniors need twice the illumination.
  • Shiny floors can cause difficulties with depth perception.
  • Braille signs inside of a building enable blind individuals to safely find their way around the building.
  • The blind need touchable cues to warn of the presence of a staircase and the ending of a staircase.


  • Locate washrooms so they are convenient, accessible and well-marked.
  • Install round, slip-resistant handrails for wheel chair transfers.
  • Locate hand towels near sinks to reduce the amount of water on the floor.
  • Use slip resistant flooring.


  • Secure shelves and racks so they cannot be moved or tipped when leaned against or grasped.
  • Place heavier products on lower shelves.
  • Keep floors cleared of clothes hangers and racks with protruding legs.

* Reminder – all renovations must meet the
“Ontario Building Code”

Download & Print the Thumbs Up Tips brochure

Information provided by: STEPS Project, Victoria BC, Safe Stores: "Stores Blitz", North Bay, ON, and the 2002 Canadian Standards Association (, Toronto, ON