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Don't learn safety rules simply by accident - ACC

Don't learn safety rules simply by accident

Every four minutes this Labour Weekend someone will fall and hurt themselves

ACC is urging people to stay safe this weekend after 1,100 working age people were injured in a fall at home during Labour Weekend 2010.

Nearly a third of all Labour Weekend claims were from people who fell over in the garden or on their garden path. More than 100 people tripped on steps, 36 fell off a ladder and 15 people injured themselves while mowing the lawn.

More than 60 of these people were so seriously hurt that they had to take time off work to recover and 30 people took more than a month off work. A total of 420 working weeks were lost, leading to reduced productivity and profits for their employers and a lower income for those people injured.

A large number of claims were from people who fell while doing DIY or gardening. The percentage of people injured while gardening doubled over Labour Weekend last year compared to the rest of the year and green-fingered females aged 40 to 44 and 50 to 54 were most likely to take a tumble.

ACC wants people to take care this weekend and enjoy the finals weekend of the Rugby World Cup.

"This Labour Weekend many of us will want to be at home in front of the TV, in the fan zones or at Eden Park cheering on the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup final. So make sure you get to see it by taking extra care if you're carrying out jobs around the home or garden because there are no large screen TVs in Emergency Departments," said General Manager Insurance and Prevention Services Keith McLea.

"Falls in the home cost ACC $272 million a year and that has a significant impact on the levies New Zealanders pay. Consequently preventing falls is an area ACC is focussing on," he added.

There are some simple and inexpensive things you can do to keep safe this Labour Weekend.

Ladder safety tips

* Never use a ladder with missing, broken or loose parts - it's just not worth the risk.

* When setting up a ladder, make sure it is on a firm, even surface.

* Ladders are not designed as working platforms. For big jobs such as painting walls, consider using scaffolding or hire a professional.

DIY safety tips

* Check the area you're working in is clear of clutter and hazards, including unstable or slippery surfaces.

* When using power tools, always keep the safety guards in place and make sure you wear closed shoes, preferably non-slip boots.

* If you're building a deck, grooved timber provides grip, or add sand to your deck paint.

Gardening safety tips

* When cutting back bushes, make sure your footing is stable and do not operate tools above shoulder height.

* If you're carrying garden rubbish, make sure you can see where you're going, it's easy to trip and fall.

* When pruning high tree branches, use a secured ladder or ask someone to hold the ladder steady.

Fast facts

* Last year more than 33,000 people in New Zealand were seriously injured doing DIY.

* More than 9,000 people were seriously hurt from a fall while gardening last year.

* You are more likely to fall on holiday weekends and in the summer months, as people spend more time at home and often take on DIY and gardening projects.


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