As the Easter break approaches and spring cleaners dust off their brooms to spruce up their homes the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents(RoSPA) is reminding people that clearing and climbing can increase the risk of home injuries.
More accidents happen in the home than anywhere else and as thousands of people prepare to clear out the old and bring in the new this holiday season, simple chores such as cleaning out cabinets and dusting off the light fixtures can lead to falls and poisonings.
It is estimated that more than 200,000 people go to A&E in the UK each year after being injured doing DIY, maintenance or gardening at home.
RoSPA’s advice includes using a stable step stool while doing tasks such as changing or cleaning light fixtures and tidying up any equipment after the job is done.
When cleaning out kitchen cupboards and cabinets it is also important to put household cleaners and medicines away to avoid accidental poisoning or chemical burns. Make sure they are out of the sight and reach of children in a locked or high-level cupboard and clean up any spills.
Sheila Merril, RoSPA’s public health adviser, said: 'For many, the Easter holiday is an ideal time to clear out the clutter. Spring cleaning may sound harmless but many of the chores that people will be doing can lead to trips, slips and falls. It is not surprising that A&E departments see a rise in DIY and gardening injuries at this time of year.
'Every year there are approximately 5,000 deaths as the result of a home accident so it is important for people to take the time out to make sure that they think about their safety.
'If you need to climb, use a stable-step stool, avoid using chairs to climb on and, most importantly, don’t rush things, as that is when most accidents are likely to occur.”
Almost 7,000 people were admitted to hospital after accidents involving a fall on or off a ladder, while nearly 4,000 were admitted following accidents involving furniture, according to latest annual NHS figures for 2013/14*. A further 3,053 were injured due to accidental poisoning by and exposure to other and unspecified chemicals and noxious substances.
See www.rospa.com/home-safety/advice/ for more home safety advice from RoSPA.
* Figures from the Hospital EpisodeStatistics (NHS Information Centre).