There is something peculiar about one of the steps leading from the 36 Street subway station, in New York City. Dean Peterson a daily commuter began noticing that he regularly tripped on one of the steps leading from the station. Peterson began to document the falls noticing that he was not alone.
In one worrying instance, a man carrying a baby jerks forward as his foot catches the offending step. He is able to regain his balance by grabbing on to another step in front of him with his free hand.
The dangerous step, it turns out, is a half-inch higher than the others. Stairway design guidelines call for risers to be a minimum of 6 inches and a maximum of 7 inches, according to MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. The allowable variance is 3/8 of an inch.
Its not clear why the step was built outside of the guidelines, but goes to show how much people rely on the standards around them to ensure daily life runs smoothly. The science of ergonomics helps to determine what is appropriate and is used in everything from the houses we live in, the furniture we sit on even the clothing that we wear uses ergonomics to determine what is suitable to the masses.