Home COVID19: Accident Free, Avoid A&E

COVID19: Accident Free, Avoid A&E

Prevent accidents. Protect your family. Help the NHS.

The last thing our frontline health services need at this time of emergency is members of the public requiring A&E help for something that could have been avoided.

Unintentional injury/ home accidents affect a person’s quality of life in terms of physical, emotional and financial well-being. It can impact on the whole family, with added pressure on the health service at this time.

Home accidents can easily be prevented by being aware of the dangers and hazards that are present in the home environment and putting in place interventions to minimise the risks.

You can support the ‘Accident Free, Avoid A&E’ campaign by learning about the practical steps you can take.

More than one million vulnerable and older people have been asked to self-isolate for at least 12 weeks by the UK Government, with over-70s also being asked to stay at home as much as possible. Regular visits from friends and family will not now be happening and it’s really important to ensure that older people have access to good accident prevention advice during this time.

The elderly are just one group that is at greater risk of having an unintentional injury. Falls in older people are a significant public health concern. The main tips to avoid falls at home are:

  • Avoid climbing in order to reach something. Even standing on a chair poses a risk of falling and causing injury to yourself, a broken limb or hip.
  • Avoid leaving items on the stairs – they can become a tripping hazard.
  • Wear well-fitting shoes and slippers.
  • Remove loose rugs, or use tape to stick down corners.
  • Landings, stairs and hallways should be well lit.
  • Ensure stairs are maintained – damaged or worn carpet should be repaired or removed if possible.

More resources available at rospa.com

You may currently have young children at home 24/7, getting bored and looking for things to do. For some of that time you may also be working. You may find your attention is being pulled in many different directions while trying to maintain good supervision of your little ones, which is always the best way to prevent accidents. But by following our tips and using our resources, you can prevent the most common types of injury.

More resources available at rospa.com

Millions of working people will now be getting used to their new “office” environments in their own homes. The UK has an unrivalled workplace health and safety record, but an employer’s responsibilities also extend to everyone working from home.

As an employee setting up at home for the first time, you need to make sure you have performed a DSE assessment on your workspace, to avoid long-latency issues such as musculoskeletal disorders (like a bad back) and eyesight damage, and you need to check for trip hazards, such as trailing cables.

As an employer, you need to understand your responsibilities to your employees who are now working remotely. Also mention mental health and feelings of isolation, and the need for employers to facilitate keeping in touch.

At first sight a long period of confinement at home during the coronavirus might seem to be a good time to catch up on all those DIY tasks that have been waiting for your attention. It may also be that, in a situation where you cannot have skilled maintenance and handyperson services coming into the home, you will tempted to “have a go” at jobs that you are not fully equipped to do.

Before you undertake DIY projects during this period, please stop and think.

  • At this time of year when people’s attentions turn to DIY activities, hospitals see a significant rise in people attending as a result of DIY injuries. Now is not a good time to put added pressure on the very services that are on the frontline of treating people who have contracted the coronavirus.
  • If you put yourself out of action as a result of a serious injury you will not be able to call for back up from friends or family members to look after you or your children while you recover.
  • To ensure that children are kept safe, many DIY tasks need to be done when they are not around. Now that schools have closed for an indefinite period, homes will be very busy for a while, increasing the likelihood of accidents if DIY activities are attempted. Anything involving tools, chemicals, the use of ladders, etc. is increasing the risk of a family member having an accident.
  • Most stores are closed and supplies of DIY materials are likely to be restricted. If a job is started but cannot be finished due to the lack of availability of materials or because of restrictions on movement, you may put part of your living space out of action at a time when it is most needed. You may also be tempted to take short cuts which mean that job is not finished safely.
  • There will always be a need for some routine household maintenance to be undertaken. In these cases, you should take extra care to follow clear safety advice. Larger scale DIY projects and unnecessary maintenance should be put on hold until the pressures on NHS have eased.

If there are essential jobs that need to be done during this time please consider the following:

  • Ensure that you have read all the instructions when tackling DIY and gardening projects, and have taken all the recommended precautionary measures when using tools. Children learn by being inquisitive, and will often want to copy what adults are doing, so supervision is key with any sort of home or gardening project.
  • Always use personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves, goggles, helmet, and facemask and safety shoes as appropriate and recommended for the task, and follow manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Ensure good supervision of children and keep pets away from where you are working.
  • Keep household chemicals in their original containers (never decant them into unmarked containers).
  • Keep all tools, paint and chemicals out of the reach of children and tidy up at the end of your task.
  • Stop and disconnect all electrical appliances and tools before repairing or cleaning them.
  • Only use tools/materials/products in accordance with their instructions • When working with power tools, use an RCD (residual current device) if your home is not already wired with one.
  • Avoid falls from height by checking a ladder’s condition before use and ensuring someone is holding the ladder in place for you.
  • Always operate within the range of your skills, ability and experience.

Spending more time at home means increased risk of house fires, so follow our tips to make sure you’re guarding against fire:

Smoke alarms

  • Test your smoke alarms regularly – it is important and essential to test them every month to make sure they are all in good working order.
  • If you can, try to make sure you have smoke alarms on at least every level of your home.
  • Try to choose a smoke alarm that is mains operated or one with a long life (10-year) battery.
  • Never disconnect or take the batteries out of your alarms.
  • Do not try to replace the battery on a 10-year long-lasting smoke alarm. Dispose of the device and replace it.
  • Replacement batteries on older type of alarms will need replacing every year.

Escape Route
It is important to remember that a smoke alarm will not stop a fire happening. It is there only to warn you of a fire.

Plan your escape route and make sure all members of your household are aware of it. Remember as a general rule: Get out, stay out and call the fire brigade out! There may be specific escape advice for your particular building.

General advice

  • Many fires start in the kitchen, especially fat fires. Never leave a pan unattended when deep fat frying and watch for overheating. Use oven chips or for safer frying, a thermostatically-controlled deep fat fryer.
  • Do not overload plug sockets and do not use household appliances if they appear faulty.
  • Do not leave electrical items charging overnight and only use chargers designed for the product.
  • Register new appliances so you are contacted if there is a recall.
  • Do not smoke in bed and keep portable heaters and candles away from furniture and curtains. Position safely where they cannot be knocked over.
  • Never leave lit candles unattended.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is called the silent killer for good reason – you can’t smell it, taste it or see it, yet a leak from a faulty boiler, fire, gas cooker or wood burner can be deadly.

Although the best way to keep yourselves safe from a leak is to have your gas appliances serviced annually by a registered Gas Safe engineer, which may not currently be possible, thankfully there are still lots of ways you can ensure you and your family is safe.

You should ensure you have working and properly-located/fitted CO alarms, which you can order from the websites of well-known DIY and home stores.