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Ladder safety campaign targets men over 60

Editorial
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The Ladder Safety Matters campaign has been launched as part of a national initiative to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries from ladder falls.

The campaign is a joint initiative of Australian Consumer Law regulators, including the Queensland Office of Fair Trading, and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.

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

QLD Attorney-General and minister for justice Yvette D’Ath said nearly 1,600 men aged over 65 were hospitalised each year with ladder-related injuries, with most occurring while doing DIY and maintenance work at home.

Around seven men die from falling off ladders at home each year.

This latest campaign calls on older men to think of their safety while using ladders.

It tells the story of three men who fell from a ladder while undertaking home maintenance, documenting the incident, their recovery, and life after the injury.

One of the men, Mick, is a retiree in his sixties, who fell from a DIY structure he created in order to trim a hedge. He fell more than two metres from the structure – hitting his head on a brick windowsill during the process – and broke four ribs, his C6 vertebrae in his spine, fractured five other vertebrates.

The video highlights that each ladder injury was preventable, and encourages older men to consider the consequences of falling from a ladder.

Victorian health minister Jill Hennessy called for men, particularly those aged 60 and over, to think twice before going up a ladder.

“It may seem like a small risk to take but the consequences can be deadly. It’s just not worth it. Put yourself and your family first – when using a ladder, make safety matter,” she said.

Dr. Owen Roodenburg, head of the Trauma Intensive Care Unit at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, and the campaign spokesperson, said most ladder injuries are preventable. He added that of those admitted to hospital, one third required intensive care.

“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,” he said.

“The figures show just how serious a fall from a ladder can be, and should be a sobering reminder for older Aussie men to stop and think before doing something risky on a ladder.”

To minimise risks associated with ladders:

  • Choose the right ladder for the job
  • Don’t work in wet or windy conditions
  • Take time to set up your ladder
  • Work safely up the ladder
  • Have another person hold the ladder
  • Know your limits and work to your ability

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