Take care when using ladders this spring

Withwarmer spring weather making minor home repairs more tempting, SouthAustralians are being reminded to take care when using ladders following a spikein the number of ladder-related injuries.

Co-Chairof the South Australian Trauma System, Nicole Kelly, said in 2018 there were215 adults treated in Major Metropolitan Hospitals for serious injuries as aresult of ladder-related falls.

“Ladder-related accidents, particularly amongmen aged 50 years and older, are a significant cause of major injuries and evendeath in Australia,” Ms Kelly said.

“Mostof the ladder-related injuries we see occur around the home,with the warmer weather encouraging people to get outside and take on minorhome repairs, spring clean, or prepare their properties ahead of bushfireseason by pruning trees and clearing out gutters.

“Commoninjuries include hip and other limb fractures, but in many cases, more seriousinjuries such as brain injuries, rib fractures, spinal injuries and even deathcan occur as a result of a fall from ladders.

“Toprevent falls it is important to make sure the ladder is the right height forthe job, has non-slip feet, is in good working order and is positioned to sitflat and firm on the ground.

“Bestpractice for working on a ladder is to wear non-slip footwear, maintain grip onthe ladder with at least one hand at all times, work within arm’s reach of theladder, and safely reposition the ladder if you need to reach something.

“Itis also a good idea to check your surroundings before climbing up the ladder aspower lines or exposed wires near the ladder can be dangerous, and laddersshould not be used in bad weather such as rain, wind or thunder and lightningstorms.”

Peoplewho are home alone, are not physically well enough to use a ladder safely, havehealth conditions or are taking medications are at higher risk of injury fromladder falls, so it is important to consider alternative options for homemaintenance.

“Weencourage people at risk of injury to ask for assistance from a family member,neighbour or friend when doing home maintenance, or to hire a maintenanceperson where possible,” Ms Kelly said.

“Youmay also be eligible to seek assistance with home maintenance through yourlocal council, My Aged Care, or disability support services.”

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