When the top of the lad­der is a hazard

The West Australian - - NEWS - Liam Croy

As the grand fi­nal afterglow fades, foot­ball fans are turn­ing to an­other of Aus­tralia’s favourite pas­times.

It can be ex­haust­ing and there is of­ten a lad­der in­volved but that is where the sim­i­lar­i­ties end.

The warmer weather sig­nals the start of the DIY sea­son, when hard­ware stores get a bump in busi­ness and ac­ci­dents in­crease around the home.

For the mo­ti­vated among us, it is a great time to get stuck into a week­end project in the lead-up to the Christ­mas holidays.

For the more re­luc­tant home im­provers, there are fewer ex­cuses for stay­ing on the couch.

Phil Petrillo has been gear­ing up for the post-foot­ball rush at his store, Os­borne Park Home Hard­ware and Build­ing Cen­tre.

He ex­pects an in­crease in busi­ness of 10 to 25 per cent dur­ing the “prime time” for DIY.

“We’ve got a com­bi­na­tion of a few fac­tors com­ing to­gether,” Mr Petrillo said.

“As the weather dries out, peo­ple are able to do things out­side and they’re able to start do­ing things that con­tinue over three or four days.

“There’s more day­light, it’s a lot warmer, so peo­ple are get­ting out of bed ear­lier and they have more time on their hands.

“When you’re tied up in the footy it can ab­so­lutely be a fac­tor,” he said.

More peo­ple pick­ing up tools and climb­ing lad­ders in­evitably leads to more in­juries.

The Aus­tralian In­sti­tute of Health and Wel­fare pub­lished sta­tis­tics this year that showed more than a third of DIY in­juries in 2013-14 came from falls from lad­ders.

Al­most two-thirds of those falls caused a bone frac­ture.

Con­tact with power tools or house­hold ma­chin­ery was the sec­ond lead­ing cause of in­jury.

There were 283 re­ports of par­tial or com­plete fin­ger am­pu­ta­tions while us­ing a pow­ered saw.

Four in five DIY in­juries hap­pened to men aged between 55 and 74. WA or­gan­i­sa­tion In­jury Mat­ters runs Stay on Your Feet, a fall preven­tion pro­gram for older adults.

In­jury preven­tion man­ager Rachel Meade said it was im­por­tant for DIYers to stay within their lim­its.

“The weather’s im­prov­ing, so peo­ple will have a ten­dency to get out and start do­ing some things,” Ms Meade said. “We would just en­cour­age them to use the right pro­tec­tive equip­ment, make sure they have the right tools for the job and be aware of their own skill level.

“I think it’s just about be­ing aware of your own abil­i­ties and recog­nis­ing that as peo­ple are get­ting older they might need to get peo­ple in to do things they would have done be­fore.”

Pic­ture: Michael Wil­son

Phil Petrillo’s hard­ware store gets busy af­ter the footy sea­son ends.

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