Thursday, May 30, 2024

Falls are still major killer in Britain, warns charity this Injury Awareness Week

FALLS are the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths worldwide but do not have to happen, that’s according to a leading accident prevention charity, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
Falls are the most common cause of death in the over 65s and cost the NHS £2 billion and over four million bed days every year, and 37.2 million falls are severe enough to require medical attention each year.

RoSPA’s Fall Fighters scheme is open to businesses of all shapes and sizes across the UK, from housing associations and manufacturing sites to small offices and more. It helps them keep their clients, communities and colleagues safe by giving them the tools they need to help reduce the risk of falls.

RoSPA’s Fall Fighters scheme builds on the World Health Organisation’s advice, that states prevention strategies should emphasise education, training, creating safer environments, prioritising fall-related research and establishing effective policies to reduce risk.

Karen McDonnell, OHS Policy Advisor at RoSPA, said:
“Injury Awareness Week offers the perfect time to reflect on the types of accidents that can be life-limiting and life-changing – and out of all the accidents that come to mind – falls are one of the most urgent issues we face.
“A fall at home or work has the power to strip someone of their independence, their health and their livelihood in a matter of seconds, and we must all play our part in helping our colleagues, friends and loved ones reduce the risk of succumbing to such an accident.”

Karen recommends taking a few simple steps to keep yourself and loved ones safe at home:
“Stairs are the most common place for an accident in the home, so always keep them clear of belongings and ensure there is enough space to walk up them. We know that having a handrail on either side of the stairwell can improve stability and significantly reduces the risk of falls, so this is a simple addition that can save lives.
“Another common place for slips, trips and falls is the bathroom, and slippery floors are often to blame. Having anti-slip flooring installed can be vital in keeping you and your loved ones safe, particularly when it comes to elderly relatives.

“It’s particularly easy to miss small objects, cords and electrical cables on the floor so these pose fall hazard too. If you can, always keep them out of walkways and keep them as close to the wall as possible.
“Finally, if you are worried about a relative’s risk of falling, do a risk assessment of their living area and ensure you’re fully up to date with the latest research in fall prevention, head to the RoSPA Falls Hub and get one step ahead.”

Speaking on how to reduce falls in the workplace, Karen said:

“The importance of fall reduction in the workplace is vital in keeping employees safe and operations moving – so we call for stringent workplace safety regulations, particularly in high-risk occupations like construction and manufacturing.

“We advocate having physical barriers and guardrails to prevent falls from heights and to use scaffolding if a guardrail is not possible. Appropriate signage, fall arrest systems like body harnesses, self-retracting lanyards and approved anchor points are non-negotiables, as is a proper risk assessment from an internal health and safety team or external supplier like RoSPA.”

To find out more about falls, please visit RoSPA’s Falls Prevention Hub, or sign up to be a Fall Fighter in your workplace for free here.


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