Easter DIY injury alert

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DIY Dunedinites are being warned to take extra care this holiday weekend after it emerged Otago and Southland had 15 ladder-related ACC injury claims during Easter last year.

Easter is a popular time to get stuck in to DIY, gardening, clearing gutters and big cleaning jobs.

But ACC falls injury prevention manager Marama Tauroa, of Wellington, said the home held the unenviable title of the “most dangerous” place for injuries.

ACC injury-claims data shows that about half of all injuries happen around the home, and most of those are caused by falls.

Many happen outside, on and around ladders.

Ladder-related injury claims nationally totalled 170 last Easter, costing $297,683.

In 2016, there were nearly 15,000 active claims directly related to falls from ladders, costing about $26million.

The average cost of ladder-related injury claims was $1802, compared with $642 for gardening injuries and $902 for DIY-related injuries.

Miss Tauroa said the most common injuries suffered in ladder falls were contusions, lacerations, fractures, dislocations, concussion and potential brain injuries.

“Falls from ladders and down stairs can result in more serious injuries, and can lead to substantial time off work for some people,” Miss Tauroa said.

“That can have a serious impact on family life.”

When people were preparing to tackle household tasks, it was important to think about whether they had the right equipment, and whether they were using it appropriately, Miss Tauroa said.

“People need to ask themselves whether they need to use a ladder for a particular job, and is their ladder safe to use,” she said.

“We need to move beyond that Kiwi ‘she’ll be right’ mindset towards thinking more about safety.

“Imagine the impact it would have on your life and your family if you fell off a ladder and suffered a serious injury,” Miss Tauroa said.

Safety tips

Avoid over-reaching sideways just to reach that last centimetre of the wall you are painting or that last branch you are pruning.

Avoid climbing higher than the third step from the top of a straight ladder.

Avoid having tools or paint cans resting on steps or hanging from rungs.

Avoid carrying heavy or unstable items up the ladder.

Avoid having fewer than three points of contact with the ladder – both hands and one foot, or both feet and one hand.