Tips: Preventing Falls in the Home

EVERYONE falls down, but usually without harming more than their pride. However, national home injury statistics show that falls are a more serious public health problem than many may expect. Home Safety Council research finds that nearly 5.1 million people in America are injured by falls in and around the home on average each year.

However, the majority of U.S. adults fail to identify falls as a serious home danger. A new home safety survey conducted by the national nonprofit Home Safety Council reveals that less than 20 percent of U.S. adults identified falls as their top home safety concern.

"Everyone knows how quickly and easily a fall can happen, yet most don't realize how frequently a fall at home becomes a life-changing event -- and may have permanent and serious consequences," said Meri-K Appy, president of the Home Safety Council. "Our survey shows a dangerous lack of concern for falls among adults, and we believe that may keep families from putting simple falls- prevention practices in place at home."

To help raise awareness for this important public health issue and reduce falls among people of all ages, the Home Safety Council is encouraging families to follow a few simple home safety tips to protect against falls in and around the home.

Prevent Falls Inside the Home

The Home Safety Council found that critical falls-prevention measures are missing from the majority of homes in America. According to recent research, less than half of U.S. adults (48 percent) have proper lighting at the top and bottom of stairs, less than a quarter (24 percent) have installed grab bars in the shower, and only 22 percent have handrails on both sides of the stairs.

Families can take the first step toward falls prevention by conducting a home safety walk through and fixing potential falling hazards within the home.

Bathroom Safety

  • Have grab bars in the tub and shower.
  • Have a non-slip mat or strips in the tub and shower.
  • Have a bath mat with a non-skid bottom on the bathroom floor.
  • Wipe up spills when they happen.
  • Have nightlights in the bedroom, hall and bathroom.

Stairway Safety

  • Have handrails on both sides of stairs and steps. Make sure handrails go from the top to the bottom of stairs.
  • Have bright lights over stairs and steps and on landings.
  • It is easy to trip on small rugs. Tape them to the floor or do not use them at all.
  • Keep the stairs clear.
  • Use baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs, if babies or toddlers live in or visit your home.

Protect Against Outdoor Falls

While it's important to remedy indoor falling hazards, plenty of additional falling hazards can be found right outside the front door. In fact, when asked to identify the area where falls are of most concern, four in 10 U.S. adults named the risk of falling outside while using a ladder or on the front porch or walkway.

The Home Safety Council recommends adopting the following safety practices to prevent outdoor falls:

Porch/Walkway Safety

  • Have handrails on both sides of stairs and steps.
  • Put bright lights over all porches and walkways.
  • Keep sidewalks and paths clear.
  • Fix broken or chipped steps and walkways as soon as possible.

Ladder Safety

  • Before using a ladder outdoors, choose a location that is well away from all power lines and on level ground.
  • Use the four-to-one rule for extension ladders: for each four feet of distance between the ground and the upper point of contact (such as the wall or roof), move the base of the ladder out one foot.
  • Stand at or below the highest safe standing level on a ladder. For a stepladder, the safe standing level is the second rung from the top, and for an extension ladder, it's the fourth rung from the top.

Playground Safety

  • Cover areas under and around play equipment with soft materials such as hardwood chips, mulch, pea gravel and sand. Materials should be 9 to 12 inches deep and extend six feet from all sides of play equipment.
  • Avoid elevated platforms, walkways or ramps on playgrounds that lack adequate guardrails or other barriers.
  • Be aware of tripping hazards, such as rocks and exposed roots. Clear this debris from your child's play area.
  • Always supervise children when they are using playground equipment.

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - May 2022

    May 2022

    Featuring:

    • WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY
      How Wearable Technology is Transforming Safety and the Industrial Workplace
    • TRAINING: CONFINED SPACES
      Five Tips to Improve Safety in Confined Spaces
    • INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE
      Monitor for Asbestos to Help Save Lives
    • PPE: FALL PROTECTION
      Fall Protection Can Be Surprising
    View This Issue