Nearly half of injuries occur at home

September 4th, 2008 - 11:44 am ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Sep 4 (IANS) Beware of slippery floors and missing handrails. Nearly half of all injuries needing medical treatment take place at home, researchers have calculated. Researchers from University of Otago in Wellington, New Zealand, identified slippery bathroom surfaces, excessively hot water, missing handrails on stairs as well as poorly maintained or slippery outdoor steps and pathways as hazards at home.

In the US, too, it was calculated in 2004 that 46 percent of injuries needing medical treatment took place at home.

“I think it’s important to draw attention to research, which shows that injury hazards around the home may have quite a significant impact on the likelihood of someone suffering an injury,” said public health researcher Michael Keall.

Keall and colleagues studied 102 houses regarding injury hazards. They found there was a 22 percent increase in the likelihood of people injuring themselves associated with each additional injury hazard in the home. The study appeared in the international journal Accident and Analysis Prevention.

An index of hazards around the home was developed against which home injuries were compared. The researchers say this could lead to further research with the healthy housing index (a measure of the health and safety of the home) as a tool for identifying and mitigating risk.

“This research suggests that the development of these measures of health and safety in the home could be useful in improving the health, safety and energy efficiency of our homes,” said Keall.

“Potentially our research may show home hazards worth fixing, which would have a significant saving for ACC. In the last financial year it paid out more than $377 million for home injuries. It’s similar overseas, where in the US 46 percent of medically treated injuries occurred in and around the home in 2004.”

The study shows that 40 percent of houses studied had between seven and nine hazards and 30 percent had more than 10. Overall, as home hazards increased, the greater the risk of injury for residents.

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