Ramps are meant to be a safer and more efficient option compared to stairs for getting from one level to another. They can facilitate the safe loading and unloading of cargo and other heavy objects or help people with disabilities get where they need to be. Ironically, while these inclines are intended to assist people, they can also cause serious injuries.
Signs of defective and dangerous ramps
The ramp’s intended use may influence the material, height, appearance and other standards that ramp builders should follow when creating them. However, neglecting regulations or using poor-quality materials may endanger ramp users.
Ramps may cause injuries when they are:
- Too steep: A ramp with a high slope is harder to use and could indicate it is not up to standard. It may cause a person carrying heavy objects or a wheelchair user to slip backward. Moving uphill would also require more effort.
- Overly smooth or rough material: Inclines require a specific amount of grip. An overly slippery surface can cause people to slide or slip off, making the ramp unusable. Meanwhile, if it’s too rough, a wheelchair or other wheeled objects like pushcarts may become stuck.
- Wet and slippery from neglect: Ramps can get wet from rain or snow like other surfaces. If the property owner fails to put warning signs or address these issues, users may slip and fall.
- Missing handrails: Ramps that rise more than six inches should have a handrail on each side. In the event of a slip or a fall, those using the ramp will have nothing to hold onto without a handrail.
Property owners are responsible for maintaining ramps. Unless issues can be resolved immediately, they must alert and restrict users from using the damaged ramps. Otherwise, ramp users may slip and fall and incur severe injuries like:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Shattered teeth
- Chronic pain
Though ramp-related injuries are uncommon, when they do occur, the consequences can be severe and life-altering. In case of injuries, victims should first seek medical attention, and if they wish to sue the property owner for damages, consult an attorney.
Ramps are available in almost every corner. Many establishments install ramps for the convenience of people with disabilities or for the effortless transportation of heavy objects, but sometimes, they can be more dangerous than helpful.