Useful tips for preventing falls
Most falls happen at home, in the garden or during leisure activities. According to the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention (bfu/bpa), 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/bpa 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.
- 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.