Issue 42 – September 2012
You may be surprised to learn that the place most of us consider to be our safe haven has the potential to be quite the opposite. Each year, almost 10,000 people are off work for a week or more because of a fall at home. One small thing can result in a serious home fall with major consequences, including being unable to do the things you enjoy, like catching up with friends and playing with your kids.
Home Safety Action Week (1 - 7 October 2012) shines a light on five of the common falls hazards – moss, rugs, chairs, power cords, and puddles – and sets out some simple steps you can take to make your home safer.
Moss may look harmless but it's slippery underfoot. Check your decks, steps and pathways, and if you spot some of the green stuff, take action! You can try either water-blasting or a moss removal product. Cutting back your trees can prevent moss from growing in the first place. When building a deck, use grooved timber and a non-skid paint finish or use a grit additive. Outside lighting can also help, as can highlighting the step edges with painted strips.
Power cords, telephone wires, leads, shoes, and toys scattered around the house are a major cause of trips. These days, there are so many appliances it can be quite a job to keep the jumble of power cords under control, so secure them to the wall, use multi-plug devices and install computer cords which release if you trip over them. Buy some shoe baskets, boxes, drawers, and shelves. Confront your clutter to ensure your floors and doorways remain clear.
Rugs and mats
Tripping over a rug is more common than you think. If you have a rug, secure it with carpet grips, anti-slip tape, or spray on a non-slip coating. If you're buying a new rug, look for one with a non-slip backing. Wearing socks on wooden floors can be dangerous, so treat yourself to a comfy pair of slippers instead. And if you have had a fright nearly falling because of a rug, why not move it to somewhere safer or remove it all together.
It is tempting to grab a chair when changing a light bulb or reaching for something up high, but it is much safer to use a stepladder or ladder. Chairs and tables can be wobbly and are not designed for us to stand on. Try storing heavy objects and things you regularly use in low cupboards. And reduce the need to reach up high by buying long-life light bulbs and smoke alarms.
A wet bathroom or slippery kitchen floor can be lethal. Keep mops, cloths, and towels handy to wipe up spills or greasy food immediately. For the bathroom use non-slip bath mats and install handrails. If you are renovating, install non-slip flooring in your bathroom, kitchen, and laundry.
→ For more simple home safety tips and advice on how to Fight the 5 home hazards, visit www.homesafety.co.nz
Information supplied by ACC.