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Tuesday, 8 January, 2002, 13:31 GMT
Domestic ladder injuries rise
Ladder
Ladders can be dangerous
The number of people injured in domestic accidents involving ladders has soared by 62% over the last decade.

Injuries can be severe, and include broken bones and damage to the head. Children appear to be particularly at risk.

Figures from Rehab UK, a charity which helps people with head injuries, show that 48,000 people a year in the UK now attend hospital Accident and Emergency departments following a ladder accident in and around the house.


Children are far less hazard aware, as these statistics show

Reg Prole
In 1991-92 the figure was 30,000.

About a third involve stepladders, a fifth free-standing A-frame ladders and a sixth portable leaning ladders.

Reg Prole, chief executive of Rehab UK, said: "Head injuries occurred in about 2,300 cases, but this is reckoned to be an under-estimate because the characteristics of head injuries are that there may be long term effects which are not obvious and may not be reported or recorded, at the time of initial treatment."

Do it yourself

About one in four of the head injuries occur during DIY activities but the next highest activity is 'children playing'.


People can see DIY as a way of saving a few pennies, but it may cost you a lot more in pain and suffering

Roger Vincent
Mr Prole said: "Most cases involved very young children - one to three year olds - walking into or tripping over ladders carelessly left around by adults.

"'More thought needs to be given to ladders as hazards for children, as well as, of course, hazards for all ages.

"Children are far less hazard aware, as these statistics show, and it is really the responsibility of adults to think twice about leaving ladders around for them to fall over or even off."

Mr Prole said most adult head injuries occurred when people fell off ladders. However, there were some instances of people walking into or tripping over ladders left up or laying around.

Reasons

He said the Department of Trade and Industry could give no reason why ladder accidents should have increased so dramatically.

"There are two possible reasons - one is that people are getting more careless when using ladders, and the second is that people are undertaking more DIY involving ladder work or perhaps even more adventurous DIY, like roofing or exterior house painting."

Roger Vincent, from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said the number of people taking up DIY had risen significantly in recent years.

He said many injuries were the result of people not taking basic safety precautions. For instance, over-reaching, or using a ladder unsuitable for the task at hand.

He told BBC News Online: "It is worrying if more people are getting injured doing DIY.

"People can see it as a way of saving a few pennies, but it may cost you a lot more in pain and suffering."

See also:

07 Jun 01 | Health
Home hazards injure thousands
06 Feb 01 | Health
Britain 'safe for children'
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