Hazards in your own home – do you know what they are?
I recently read about a man who, while using an industrial lawn mower suffered a mishap and accidentally amputated his lower leg.
As I read this story and how the first responder paramedics would have had to respond while they waited for this poor man to be airlifted to hospital, I shuddered and could not imagine the situation unfolding – and worse, how will this man’s life be when he does recover.
I sat in silence for some time after reading this article – then I looked and thought ‘how many hazards do I have in my own home’?
Often the Monday morning chit chat at the office revolves around how someone suffered some mishap while doing a DIY project, cleaning out the gutter and so on.
It may be funny at the time; however, it can also be profoundly serious or even deadly – remember the poor man on the lawn mower.
What hazards do I have in my home?
The short answer is plenty!
We take our home living space for granted when it comes to safety – our biggest concerns tend to be:
- Being robbed
- Bush fires
Yes, these are serious events that can be devastating – however, there are far many others that can be equally devastating.
While in no particular order, here is a list of home hazards that everyone needs to be aware off and take precautionary steps to ensure they are ideally eliminated or at best, minimised.
In NEW South Wales alone, fire & rescue respond to about 4500 home fires annually – which mostly start in the kitchen due to unattended cooking.
The common causes for home fires are:
- Unattended cooking (oil etc) – as mentioned above.
- Electrical appliances – not suitable protected
- Heaters, cigarettes and candles
What precautions can you take to prevent/control a fire in your home?
There are some amazingly simple, effective, and inexpensive steps you can take, these include:
- Install fire alarms/smoke detectors
- Install a fire extinguisher and even a fire blanket (to extinguish oil-based fires in the kitchen)
- Monitor naked flames – especially candles and open fire places
Falls can be very serious – particularly for our elderly population.
It’s been shown that one out of five falls cause serious injury such as broken bones or head injury.
Some steps you can take to eliminate or at least minimis falls around the home include:
- Fix any loose steps and handrails on staircases – and have adequate lighting
- Same goes for outdoor steps – clear any debris on the steps (wet leaves etc)
- Bathrooms can be particularly slippery especially if just cleaned – clear from the outside and let rinse thoroughly to remove any soapy residue
- Any toys lying around need to be put away
Unless you are an electrician, the best course of action is to have a licensed professional to do work around your home.
Common causes of electrocution include:
- Replacing light fittings
- Replacing/adding power points
- Working on electrical appliances e.g. ovens
Many of us spend our weekends working around the home – mowing, clearing gutters, removing mould from driveways/footpaths etc fixing outdoor lighting etc.
And here, we have a minefield of hazards:
- And more…
Other hazards around your home that can cause harm or serious injury:
If all practice being more aware of our surroundings and more mindful of working safely, we can avoid serious or even life-threatening injury.
Whether it’s the workplace or the homeplace, safety is not someone else’s responsibility – it’s yours and yours alone.
You can Safety Services Australia for more information on keeping your homeplace safe from hazards.
Contact Roxayne on firstname.lastname@example.org T: +61 29634 5912 M: +61 438507258