Safety advice for the earthquake clean up

Firstly I would like to say a HUGE well done and thank you to all the local, out of town and international contractors supporting us Cantabrians. It can’t have been easy leaving the comfort of their homes, friends and families to join us for the earthquake clean up, repair and demolition. We couldn’t do it without your support.

There are many hazards associated with the clean up, repair and demolition post earthquake. There are too many to list!
Do you know what’s in the air you are breathing?

This doesn’t just relate to your place of work but also relates to your home. This is especially evident now given the amount of businesses and homes that require demolition or repair. In the last couple of weeks you may have seen a report on the news regarding the case of a home owner who was living in their house when a builder was undertaking repairs. Unbeknown to the home owner, and the builder, asbestos fibres were being released into the air contaminating the home, potentially exposing the home owner.

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Health Happenings — Safety Week

This year Safety Week runs from the 15th to the 21st of August and this year’s focus is falls in the home. Last year almost 10,000 people were off work for more than a week as a result of a fall at home, which has a big affect on businesses and organisations.

Why falls? Because falls are the major cause of injury in the home and it’s not just the young and elderly who are at risk. Last year, 25 to 64 year olds made up 40% of all home falls, with over 107,000 claims. Two thirds of those claims were from people in the workforce.

Home injury facts and simple changes you can make:

  • Slips, trips and falls make up 41% of all home accidents.
    ONE SIMPLE CHANGE: Wear non-slip shoes inside.
  • More than 17,000 accidents occur in bathrooms each year.
    ONE SIMPLE CHANGE: Use non-slip mats in the bath and shower.
  • 133 kids injure themselves running through glass or falling out of a window every single week.
    ONE SIMPLE CHANGE: Make sure that you can see glass doors – add stickers or a frosted panel to make them more visible.
  • There are 87 stair-related accidents every day that result in an ACC claim – that’s 610 people a week.
    ONE SIMPLE CHANGE: Flick the light switch on when you use the stairs.
  • Last year 5,400 people were injured while using a ladder at home – that’s 15 people injured every day.
    ONE SIMPLE CHANGE: Don’t over reach sideways.
  • 40% of homes have dangerously hot water.
    ONE SIMPLE CHANGE: Ensure your hot water is 55°C at the tap.
  • The more alcohol you drink the greater your risk of injury.
    ONE SIMPLE CHANGE: If you are organising a party at home, plan activities and food so drinking isn’t the focus.

Find out more at

Karen Woolf — TriEx Clinical Nurse/Adult Educator & Trainer