Useful tips for preventing falls

Most falls happen at home, in the garden or during leisure activities. Find out how to recognize tripping hazards and how to avoid falls.

According to the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention (BFU), 300,000 people stumble or slip every year in Switzerland. Of these people, 1,100 die as a result, 90% of them older people. The following tips from BFU will help you recognise and address the risks and get safely through the day.

Doorways, rugs and cables

  • A dirt-trapper mat or rug at the entrance to your home will make sure nobody stumbles on the threshold.
  • Use non-slip underlay to stop rugs and mats sliding, and tape the edges of a carpet down with carpet tape if they start to lift.
  • Tidy up loose cables with cable ties and tubes.

Shower, bathroom and kitchen

  • Non-slip mats or strips will prevent you from slipping.
  • Shower and bath grab handles and rails make your bathroom even safer.
  • Always wipe up spilt liquids immediately.

Getting around

  • Stable, well-fitting shoes with good grips help prevent accidents when it’s wet, snowy or icy outside.

Falls from height

Most falls from a height happen mainly because steps are slippery or people are in a hurry. Take your time, and use a stable ladder even for small jobs.

Safety on the stairs

  • If stair carpets or coverings get damaged, have them repaired immediately.
  • Mark the edge of stairs to make them more visible.
  • Use anti-slip strips or non-slip floor covering to make stairs safer.
  • Get an expert to put up a hand rail on stairways (make sure it complies with Swiss SIA Norm 358)
  • Make sure stairways have good lighting that doesn’t dazzle, and set timers so that the light stays on long enough.
  • Stair rails and banisters should be at least 90 cm high.
  • To stop children slipping through, stair rails must not have an opening of more than 12 cm in diameter for the first 75 cm.

Working at height

  • Use a ladder, even for straightforward jobs. For major jobs you should use scaffolding and call in an expert if possible.
  • Buy a good household ladder with broad, non-slip treads, slip-resistant feet, and a knee-high safety rail above the top platform.
  • Never place a lean-to ladder at too steep or flat an angle: the angle should be around 70 degrees.
  • Open the two sides of a stepladder until the spreader is fully open and in locked position. Never use a stepladder as a lean-to ladder, and get down if you have to change the position of the ladder.