Hold on – does carrying an object impact handrail use?

When someone loses their balance on a stairway, even if they were not initially holding the handrail, they can often successfully grasp it and use it to recover balance because the reaching reaction happens very quickly. However, if someone is holding an object in their hand during a loss of balance, they are likely to preferentially hold onto that object rather than releasing it to grab the handrail.

Slips, trips and falls may seem simple, but there are numerous factors to consider when investigating these incidents. Click on the chart to see if you are getting the full picture.

Kathleen Denbeigh B.Sc.E, M.A.Sc., specializes in personal injury investigations within the Biomechanics, Human Factors, and Personal Injury Assessment Group at 30 Forensic Engineering. She possesses a diverse academic background in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering from Queen’s University and the University of Toronto, where her research focused on slips and falls with emphasis on the design of winter footwear. Kathleen has investigated the human and environmental factors associated with personal injury incidents such as slips, trips, and falls and product-failure related injuries.

Brittany Sinclair B.Sc., E.I.T. is an Associate with the Biomechanics & Personal Injury Group. She graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, with a Biomechanics Option, in 2015. Her work experience includes human systems integration research for the defence and security science and technology industry. During her time with 30 Forensic Engineering, Brittany has conducted technical investigations involving the assessment of injury causation, including pedestrian injuries, workplaces injuries, slips, trips and falls, and injuries sustained in motor vehicle collisions.