How to reduce trips and falls
Trips and falls account for a large amount of injuries in the home. By following simple guidelines you can help to reduce the risk to you and your family.
How to tackle trips and falls
The recommended five-step approach to risk assessment provides a useful framework when tackling slips and trips:
- look around for anything that may cause an accident, for example, slippery floors
- decide who is at risk
- take preventative measures
- keep a record of what you have changed
- continually monitor your living space keep a note of all potential hazards
Accidents in the home are frequently caused by:
- poorly organised walkways
- inadequate/unsuitable lighting
- incorrect cleaning procedures
- moving/handling a load
- rushing around
- poor eyesight, vari-focal glasses
- medication which can lead to dizziness
Look out for these hazards:
- spills and splashes of liquids and solids
- wet floors
- unsuitable footwear
- loose mats/clutter on floors
- inclement weather
- change from a wet to a dry surface
- unsuitable floor surface/covering
- dusty floors
- sloping surfaces
Trip hazards can be a problem in all homes, especially in houses with exposed wooden floors. You should look out for:
- loose flooring/floor covering
- worn floor covering
- holes, cracks
- uneven outdoor surfaces
- changes in surface level
- trailing cables
How to help yourself and those around you
You can help your general well-being and help to reduce the risk of trips and falls by keeping active and healthy. A good way to make your muscles stronger and to improve your balance is to take regular exercise.
Exercise is important for older people, who are more vulnerable to trip hazards in the home. You don't have to go to the gym to remain active. Simple tasks like gardening, regular house work and walking can boost energy levels and improve coordination and balance.
Older people - getting help and advice
Make sure you carry out a risk assessment of all the rooms in your home. For example, do you have hand rails for your bath or is the kitchen free of clutter and well lit?
If you are concerned about any aspect of your home, you can seek expert advice from your local council, who may operate a home safety scheme. Further specialist help can be obtained from organisations such as Help the Aged, who provide detailed fact sheets and information packs.
Children are prone to trips and falls and you should always do a safety inspection of potential play areas, both at home and when you are out.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents provides detailed information about how you can assist in the reduction of childhood accidents in your home.
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