Step­ping up for lad­der safety

Mansfield Courier - - NEWS -

OLDER Mans­field men are be­ing urged to put their safety first when us­ing lad­ders as part of a new ed­u­ca­tion aware­ness cam­paign.

The Lad­der Safety Mat­ters cam­paign, part of a na­tional ap­proach to re­duce se­ri­ous in­jury and deaths from lad­der falls, tells the story of three Vic­to­rian men who fell from a lad­der while do­ing home main­te­nance.

The videos chronicle their fall, re­cov­ery and life af­ter their lad­der in­jury.

Al­most ev­ery lad­der in­jury was pre­ventable and is why older men are be­ing urged to con­sider the con­se­quences of a lad­der fall.

Lad­ders are as­so­ci­ated with more deaths and in­juries than any other house­hold prod­uct, with men aged 60 years and older most likely to suf­fer se­ri­ous in­juries from a lad­der fall.

In Vic­to­ria alone, there is an av­er­age of 1330 emer­gency depart­ment pre­sen­ta­tions as a re­sult of a do­mes­tic lad­der fall, and ap­prox­i­mately seven men die as a re­sult of falling from a lad­der at home each year.

One of the videos tells the story of Vic­to­rian re­tiree, Mick, aged in his six­ties, who fell from a DIY struc­ture he had set up to trim a hedge in Jan­uary last year.

Mick fell more than two me­tres to the ground, hit­ting his head on a brick win­dow sill on the way down.

He broke four ribs, his C6 ver­te­brae and frac­tured five other ver­te­brate and was forced to spend more than two months bedrid­den and con­fined in a neck brace.

Mick’s fall could have been pre­vented, and should serve as a warn­ing to older men to think twice be­fore go­ing up on a lad­der.

“My mes­sage to men – par­tic­u­larly those in their six­ties and beyond – is clear,” said state Min­is­ter for Health Jill Hen­nessy.

“When us­ing a lad­der, make safety mat­ter.”

“Of­ten it’s a split­sec­ond de­ci­sion, some­thing the man knows is a risky short­cut, that lands them in hos­pi­tal,” said head of the trauma in­ten­sive care unit at The Al­fred Hos­pi­tal, Dr Owen Rood­en­burg.

“One third of lad­der fall pa­tients ad­mit­ted to our hos­pi­tal need in­ten­sive care.

“Shock­ingly, a quar­ter of these in­ten­sive care pa­tients die, and of those who do sur­vive, over half are not well enough to live at home af­ter 12 months.”

Visit the Bet­ter Health Chan­nel to watch Mick’s story and find safety tips to help pre­vent lad­der falls in the home at www. bet­ter­health.vic.gov.au/ lad­der­safety.

TAKE CARE: Older men are be­ing urged to take more care when climb­ing lad­ders to pre­vent in­juries.

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