Dime of prevention can save millions worth of injuries at home

February 16th, 2009 - 3:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Feb 16 (IANS) Many houses are exposed to hazards that end in claims running into millions of dollars every year as well as resulting in pain and suffering to individuals and their families.

University of Otago, Wellington together with Better Homes, Taranaki carried out the research on behalf of the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).

The study which examined 1,000 houses in Taranaki, identified three common domestic injury hazards that could be fixed at very low cost.

Firstly, most houses under study did not have working smoke alarms; secondly, the hot water was turned up dangerously high in nearly half the households; thirdly, 20 percent of homes had a ranch slider or low windows without a safety visibility sticker or strip, which could result in serious injury.

“Fixing these hazards would reduce the risk of potentially serious injury in a home at virtually no cost to the householder,” said lead investigator Michael Keall of Otago.

“We also found that for a modest cost of $500 (Australian), most householders could fix other injury hazards in their homes to make a significant difference in terms of reducing injury risk.”

There were also many hazards specific to children. For hazards unrelated to slips, trips and falls, the study found steeply increasing child injury risk with increasing numbers of home hazards, but no particular increase in injury rates for the population generally.

“This research is unprecedented internationally” said Keall. “We hope to obtain funding… which will provide a strong scientific and economic basis for further investment in home safety,” said an Otago release.

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