For most of us, home is where we feel most comfortable and secure. Unfortunately, it’s also the place where we have the most accidents.
Familiar surroundings and routines allow us to relax, but that also makes it easy to overlook potential health and safety issues.
Incredibly, ACC received well over a million claims relating to injuries in the home and community during the 2013/2014 year - more than six times those recorded in the workplace.
According to ACC:
- Nearly half of all home injuries are caused by slips, trips and falls - often from steps, stairs and ladders.
- More than 17,000 accidents occur in the bathroom every year.
- A quarter of child pedestrians who end up in hospital are run over in their own driveway.
- 40% of New Zealand households have dangerously hot water.
- Each year in their homes, 700 children cut themselves badly enough to be admitted to hospital.
- For under-fives, 40% of drownings happen at home.
Even in the most conscientious of households, accidents can happen. So ask yourself: what could you do better?
There are hidden hazards all around the home, and children and older people are particularly vulnerable to these. You can help keep yourself and your family safe by putting on your "safety glasses" and taking a fresh look at your surroundings.
Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Set water temperature to a maximum of 55 degrees Celcius to avoid serious burns.
- Install smoke alarms throughout your home, and regularly test them and their batteries at least once a month.
- Have safety glass installed where appropriate – and put stickers on full-length windows and doors to make them easier to see.
- Apply non-slip floor mats or surfaces in wet areas, like the bathroom and laundry.
- Install security latches on windows and doors so you can ventilate your home while ensuring personal safety.
- Prevent trips and falls by keeping floors clutter-free, installing handrails on stairs, lighting where it’s needed (such as halways and on driveways and garden paths), and keeping decks and paths well-maintained.
- Encourage children to play away from vehicles and make driveways ‘no-go zones’.
If you need a bit more inspiration, check out the ACC website, which provides some excellent guidelines to making your home a safer and healthier place.
For more ways to keep yourself safe check out the following websites:
Healthy homes: www.energywise.govt.nz/node/9719
Personal safety: www.police.govt.nz/advice/personal-community/home-safe
Child safety: www.safekids.org.nz
Rental information: https://www.tenancy.govt.nz