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Coronavirus: Accident Free, Avoid A&E

The best thing that anyone can do to help our amazing NHS fight and beat coronavirus (COVID-19) right now is to stay at home.

This also means avoiding going to A &E, to take pressure off frontline health services. But while heeding the advice to stay at home, we need to be aware that more accidents happen in the home than anywhere else – you could say the home is the most dangerous place to be, with 6,000 home accident deaths across the UK every year.

We need to make sure we and our loved ones are safe from serious injury, wherever they are and whatever they are doing during the pandemic emergency. That’s why RoSPA has launched the Accident Free, Avoid A&E campaign to help keep everyone free from serious accidental injury in this new world.

The Accident Free, Avoid A&E campaign

The campaign features tried-and-tested advice, information and practical resources to help you keep yourselves and your loved ones accident free, however young or old they are and whatever they’re doing.

The campaign will last for as long as social distancing measures are in place, so make sure to follow this webpage and our Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels for helpful tips. And if there’s something that you can’t find, email campaigns@rospa.com and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.

Keeping kids safe

You may currently have young children at home 24/7, getting bored and looking for things to do. For some of that time you may also be working. You may find your attention is being pulled in many different directions while trying to maintain good supervision of your little ones, which is always the best way to prevent accidents. But by following our tips and using our resources, you can prevent the most common types of injury.

Further information

Keeping Kids Safe hub
Keeping Kids Safe hub

Check out our Keeping Kids Safe hub

Garden safety
Garden safety

If you have a garden, this is likely to be getting more use, make sure to follow RoSPA’s garden safety advice

Trampoline safety
Trampoline safety

Check out our advice on how to bounce safe

Take action today, put them away
Take action today, put them away

Curious hands and easy-to-reach household cleaning products, such as liquid laundry capsules, don’t mix

Driveway safety
Driveway safety

If they are playing outside, always be aware that children may be around when you set off in the car

Colouring sheets
Colouring sheets

To help keep the kids entertained, and to display for all those out on their daily walks

Keeping Kids Safe Packs
Keeping Kids Safe Packs

Businesses can now buy our packs for 50% off!

Digital Home Safety Resources
Digital Home Safety Resources

Resources for businesses to share with their staff, also 50% off!

Safety for older people

More than one million vulnerable and older people have been asked to self-isolate for at least 12 weeks by the UK Government, with over-70s also being asked to stay at home as much as possible. Regular visits from friends and family will not now be happening and it’s really important to ensure that older people have access to good accident prevention advice during this time.

The older we get the more susceptible we are to accidents, and particularly falls. The main tips to avoid falls at home are:

  • Avoid leaving items on the stairs – they can become a tripping hazard
  • Wear well-fitting shoes and slippers
  • Remove loose rugs, or use tape to stick down corners
  • Landings, stairs and hallways should be well lit
  • Ensure stairs are maintained – damaged or worn carpet should be repaired or removed if possible.

Further information

Stay Steady

Keep active. The Stay Steady video demonstrates how older adults can improve their balance and strength in their own home with some quick and simple exercises

Facing up to falls

Understand how to avoid having a fall

How to get up

And if a fall should happen, here is what to do to get back up again

Falls
Falls

We’ve got lots of tips on how you or your older relatives can avoid having a fall at home

Safe at home
Safe at home

For more general advice about accident prevention for older people

Working from home

Millions of working people will now be getting used to their new “office” environments in their own homes. The UK has an unrivalled workplace health and safety record, but an employer’s responsibilities also extend to everyone working from home.

As an employee setting up at home for the first time, you need to make sure you have performed a DSE assessment on your workspace, to avoid long-latency issues such as musculoskeletal disorders (like a bad back) and eyesight damage, and you need to check for trip hazards, such as trailing cables.

As an employer, you need to understand your responsibilities to your employees who are now working remotely. Also mention mental health and feelings of isolation, and the need for employers to facilitate keeping in touch.

RoSPA members can access policies and practical resources to manage homeworkers, by using the Health and Safety Knowledge Centre.

If you’re not a member, we urge you to join today to benefit from our support to meet the challenges ahead.

Further information

RoSPA Membership
RoSPA Membership

Join RoSPA today to access all of our practical resources

DSE assessment
DSE assessment

If you're new to working from home, download this checklist from the HSE

Volunteer drivers

Volunteer drivers are offering their time generously in support of the UK’s response to coronavirus, including driving patients home from hospital, transporting supplies between NHS sites and delivering food and medicines to vulnerable people.

When volunteering as a driver at any time, it’s important that both you and the organisation give some thought to safety. Driving as a volunteer could involve different challenges to driving for personal reasons, such as having to take unfamiliar routes, meet deadlines and be responsible for the safety of passengers you do not know.

As a starting point, the organisation you are volunteering for will want to know that: you are legally entitled to drive the vehicle you are using; the vehicle is safe and road legal; you’re properly trained and competent to drive the vehicle safely; and you’re using the vehicle for suitable purposes.

Other important things to consider include:

  • Your fitness to drive, such as not driving when you are impaired by alcohol, drugs or medicines, tired or affected by illness
  • Always staying within the speed limit and not driving too fast for the conditions
  • Avoiding distractions including from mobile phones (handheld or hands-free), sat navs, music, eating or drinking
  • Knowing how to keep your passengers safe by wearing seat belts and having their head restraints adjusted correctly
  • How to check the safety of your vehicle e.g. by using the POWER technique: Petrol (fuel); Oil; Water; Electrics; and Rubber (tyres).

Further information

Free resources
Free resources

Browse our free resources for drivers, employers and others covering many of the road safety topics mentioned above

Driver Profiler
Driver Profiler

An online risk assessment tool for fleets, which is particularly useful as part of an induction process for new starters

Online Driver Safety Package
Online Driver Safety Package

Combining our popular Driver Profiler risk assessment tool and e-learning courses

Getting out and about – walking and cycling

While we’re going to be spending most of our time indoors, we can currently get out for one form of exercise per day by either walking, running or cycling.

There will be lots of children out walking during the daytime, and while the roads are quieter, now is the perfect time to teach them the Green Cross Code and how to be a safe pedestrian.

We’re also expecting lots of cyclists to be out and about while the roads are quieter, people are avoiding public transport and doing exercise. Whether you’re an experienced cyclist, or jumping on a bike for the first time in ages, you should perform an “M-check” of the bike to ensure it’s in good nick.

If you’re out cycling with the kids, get them to perform their own M-check and show them how to fix a puncture and how to carry out regular maintenance, make sure they wear a helmet, and try to avoid roads with heavy traffic or without cycle lanes. Avoid routes where you are likely to encounter lots of people walking like parks and canal towpaths.

Electric bikes are also a great way to get around. Even though your cycle shop might still be open please remember to keep two meters away from other people if you need to visit.

If you are out driving during the pandemic for essential reasons, always expect cyclists to be around. Learn how to do the Dutch each when getting out of your vehicle.

Further information

Ready to ride

For how to perform an “M-check” of the bike to ensure it’s in good nick

Pedestrian training
Pedestrian training

Check out our leaflet!

M-Check
M-Check

Check out our checklist

Carrying children on bicycles
Carrying children on bicycles

If you’re carrying smaller ones on your own bike, take a look at our factsheet on safe ways to do so

Electric bikes
Electric bikes

Everything you need to know on how to choose and safely use an e-bike

Dutch Reach
Dutch Reach

Learn how to do the Dutch reach when getting out of your vehicle

Out and about – driving

An alarming report from the BBC has indicated that some drivers are flouting the rules of the road and driving at excessive speed during lockdown conditions, likely because the roads are not as busy as usual. We have also heard some anecdotal reports of dangerous overtaking manoeuvres.

It is so important for drivers to stick to the rules of the road, particularly speed limits, and be extra vigilant during these unusual circumstances, as you will likely encounter more children, pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users than at any other time, as they will be out for their daily exercise throughout the day.

In 2018, 177 people were killed in crashes involving someone exceeding the speed limit, and a further 137 people died when someone was travelling too fast for the conditions. Additionally, if you have a crash you will be placing undue pressure on frontline emergency and healthcare workers, at a time when they need to be concentrating on dealing with the pandemic.

Please don’t be selfish – stick to the speed limit, and follow the usual rules of the road. This includes avoiding distractions – don’t use your mobile phone.

Further information

Speeding
Speeding

See our advice page on speeding

Top ten tips poster
Top ten tips poster

Download our top 10 tips to stay within the limit

Vulnerable road users
Vulnerable road users

Download our guide on vulnerable road users

20mph limits
20mph limits

Download our guide to 20mph limits

Speeding
Speeding

See our guide on how to deal with speeding as a community

Getting out and about – water safety

While open-water swimming is not advised by the Government as one of the “essential” reasons for which we can go outside, you should still be mindful of water safety when walking, jogging or cycling next to a body of water such as a river or canal.

Further information

Advice for children
Advice for children

To keep yourself safe, when you are in, on or beside water, always follow the Water Safety Code

Advice for parents
Advice for parents

Parents play a crucial role in the development of their children's water safety knowledge, skills, attitude and behaviours.

Getting out and about – young and learner drivers

With the DVLA having cancelled and postponed all lessons and tests for a while, it’s understandable that learner drivers will be anxious about keeping their skills up to date.

Unfortunately the Government has said that we can only leave our homes for “essential” journeys, such as going shopping or going to work if we cannot work from home. This guidance appears to leave no room for driving practice. However, it may be appropriate to give the wheel to the learner when you go out for shopping or medicine, or if you’re helping out someone who is self isolating.

Further information

Private practice
Private practice

RoSPA has a whole website dedicated to learner drivers, with a section on private practice

Young Drivers' hub
Young Drivers' hub

The following information will help non-ADIs to provide effective private practice

Helping young people learn to drive
Helping young people learn to drive

This guide provides advice about helping learner car drivers during private driving practice

Those young and inexperienced drivers who have already passed their tests will understandably be bored at home, and may be looking to head out on the road. Please don’t! Newly-qualified drivers are especially at risk. You will be putting yourself and other road users at risk, and if you have an accident, you will be placing A & E services under unnecessary pressure.

DIY and cleaning

Thousands of people end up in hospital every year as a result of an accident while attempting DIY. You may have time on your hands at home but the best advice is not to do it while the NHS is under pressure and homes are crowded. If you do need to do some essential maintenance, follow RoSPA’s safety advice.

Further information

DIY Safety factsheet
DIY Safety factsheet

How to stay safe at home when doing DIY

Safe use of disinfectants
Safe use of disinfectants

Safety advice from the UK Cleaning Products Industry Association (UKCPI) on disinfectants and COVID-19

Fireworks and sky lanterns

RoSPA urges everyone not to use fireworks or sky lanterns through the coronavirus pandemic.

Although they might seem like a great way to show your appreciation for NHS and other frontline workers, you actually risk putting the health and fire services under more pressure by using them.

Fireworks

We have heard reports of fireworks being let off during the weekly Thursday Clap for Carers. But the use of fireworks puts you and your family at risk of serious burn injuries, which would result in a trip to A&E and a potentially-lengthy stay in hospital – putting the NHS under further, needless pressure.

The best way to thank carers at this time would be to prevent injury and let them get on with the job of fighting the coronavirus, so please refrain from using fireworks.

Sky lanterns

Sky lanterns, also known as Chinese lanterns, are also being promoted as a way to thank the NHS. But the lanterns pose a fire risk when they land, meaning a risk of injury, and the potential to put undue pressure on fire services. The National Fire Chiefs Council has urged people not to use them.

Although there is no nationwide ban on the use of sky lanterns, many local authorities do not allow them to be used on their land and in certain public places.

Further information

Firework safety
Firework safety

See our firework safety advice

 

Fire safety

Spending more time at home means increased risk of house fires, so follow our tips to make sure you’re guarding against fire:

Smoke alarms

  • Test your smoke alarms regularly – it is important and essential to test them every month to make sure they are all in good working order
  • If you can, try to make sure you have smoke alarms on at least every level of your home
  • Try to choose a smoke alarm that is mains operated or one with a long life (10-year) battery
  • Never disconnect or take the batteries out of your alarms
  • Do not try to replace the battery on a 10-year long-lasting smoke alarm. Dispose of the device and replace it
  • Replacement batteries on older type of alarms will need replacing every year

Escape route

It is important to remember that a smoke alarm will not stop a fire happening. It is there only to warn you of a fire.

Plan your escape route and make sure all members of your household are aware of it. Remember as a general rule: Get out, stay out and call the fire brigade out! There may be specific escape advice for your particular building.

General advice

  • Many fires start in the kitchen, especially fat fires. Never leave a pan unattended when deep fat frying and watch for overheating. Use oven chips or for safer frying, a thermostatically-controlled deep fat fryer
  • Do not overload plug sockets and do not use household appliances if they appear faulty
  • Do not leave electrical items charging overnight and only use chargers designed for the product
  • Register new appliances so you are contacted if there is a recall
  • Do not smoke in bed and keep portable heaters and candles away from furniture and curtains. Position safely where they cannot be knocked over
  • Never leave lit candles unattended

Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is called the silent killer for good reason – you can’t smell it, taste it or see it, yet a leak from a faulty boiler, fire, gas cooker or wood burner can be deadly.

Although the best way to keep yourselves safe from a leak is to have your gas appliances serviced annually by a registered Gas Safe engineer, which may not currently be possible, thankfully there are still lots of ways you can ensure you and your family is safe.

You should ensure you have working and properly-located/fitted CO alarms, which you can order from the websites of well-known DIY and home stores.

If you suspect a leak, then you must call one of the following emergency numbers:

England, Wales and Scotland

Natural Gas (NG): 0800 111 999

Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG): Contact number will be on your bulk storage vessel or meter

Northern Ireland

Natural Gas (NG): 0800 002 001

Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG): Contact number will be on your bulk storage vessel or meter

Isle of Man

Natural Gas (NG), Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Towns Gas: 0808 1624 444

Guernsey

Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Mains Gas: 01481 749 000

Jersey

Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Mains Gas: 01534 755 555

Carbon monoxide detector
Carbon monoxide safety

Take a look at our carbon monoxide page for advice, and how to look out for CO poisoning

Resources for businesses

Organisations will want to do all they can to protect their remote workers, and help them to look after their families as we all adhere to social distancing measures. RoSPA has a wealth of resources available to help do just that.

RoSPA members can access policies and practical resources to manage homeworkers, by using the Health and Safety Knowledge Centre.

Further information

Keeping Kids Safe Packs
Keeping Kids Safe Packs

Businesses can now buy our packs for 50% off!

Digital Home Safety Resources
Digital Home Safety Resources

Resources for businesses to share with their staff, also 50% off!

RoSPA Membership
RoSPA Membership

Join RoSPA today to access all of our practical resources

RoSPA Training
RoSPA Training

Online training is readily available and face-to-face safety-critical training can also be delivered in some circumstances

Get social!

Sharing our accident prevention messages will help more people stay safe and injury free throughout the outbreak, further easing pressure on our stretched emergency services.

Use the hashtag #AccidentFreeAvoidAandE in any of your posts. You can also download a zip file with loads of images to use in your posts.


Contact Us

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+44 (0)121 248 2001
help@rospa.com
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