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Building owners and managers sometimes keep stairwells locked because of concern about liability for injuries – but our research finds that accessible stairwells appear to pose no more legal risk than other common areas within a building. Owners should already be maintaining stairwells 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.
This fact sheet explores some of the risks and benefits associated with unlocking stairwells for physical activity. For a more in-depth legal analysis, see www.phlpnet.org.