Accidents are a major cause of injury, disability and death, particularly among young children and older people.
In England, accidents are responsible for 10,000 deaths a year. Accidents have a significant impact on society both emotionally and financially.
- Gender - statistically males have more accidents than females.
- Environmental hazards - poorly maintained housing.
- Social deprivation - homelessness and poor health.
- Physical and mental health - depression and stress can increase the risk of accidents.
- Alcohol and Drugs - a factor in 20% - 30% of all accidents.
- Seasonal variations.
- Human behaviour - individual attitudes toward risk and safety is a major contributor of accident rates.
Accidents and older people
Older people are at particular risk of death and disability from falls on stairs or steps. Over 3,000 people, over the age of 65 years, are killed annually in falls.
As a part of their 'Avoiding slips, trips and broken hips' campaign, the Department of Trade and Industry issued the following guidelines to reduce the risks of falls.
These simple steps can prevent pain and injury caused by falls.
- Have regular eye tests and foot care. If you are taking more than four medications, ask your GP to review them on a regular basis. Let a friend or neighbour know if you are feeling unwell.
- Ensure that you get enough calcium and vitamin D to keep your bones strong and reduce the risk of fracture. Choose low-fat versions of calcium rich foods, such as milk, cheese and yoghurt.
- Weak muscles and poor balance can cause someone to fall. Regular exercise such as brisk walking or light gardening can improve these conditions.
- When getting out of bed or up from a chair, take your time. It is a good idea to do it in slow stages, so as not to become light-headed.
- Avoid wearing loose-fitting or open-backed shoes and shoes with heels that may cause you to slip or trip.
- Simple modifications in your home can help reduce accidents.
- Keep physically active.
- Take fewer risks in your routine.
- Be aware of changes in your health.
- Eat a balanced and healthy diet.
- Take precautions in the home.
Safety on the stairs
To prevent an accident on the stairs, take the following measures:
- light up your stairs;
- take care when carrying things;
- keep stairs and landings free of clutter;
- wear glasses if necessary;
- stay steady; and
- hold the handrail.
If you do fall, try not to panic. If you cannot get help, try sitting on a chair, keep warm and tense your leg regularly to produce heat. Contact a neighbour or relative by banging on a wall or phoning.
Inform your GP after a fall.
Environmental Health and Licensing
01438 242908 / 242916