Did you know that gardening and outside maintenance accidents are one of the most common causes of injury in the UK every year? It seems amazing that the place where we’re supposed to be safest is where hundreds of thousands get injured, but it’s true. The problem is that at home, because you do tend to feel safe, you may not take the precautions you should, or you try and carry out tasks you haven’t got the ability or equipment to manage safely. If you don’t want to be one of those unfortunate statistics, here’s some advice to keep you safe outside your home.
- Clean your paths: Pathways can get very slippery, especially in winter when they’re damp and wet a lot of the time and algae starts to grow. A pressure washer should clear all the slime off your paths without too much bother.
- Sort out loose paving slabs: Loose slabs or bricks that move when you walk on them could easily cause a fall, so lift them out, redo the cement underneath, and fix them back into place, checking they’re right with a spirit level.
- Keep walkways and doors clear: Without meaning to, it’s easy to leave pots or bags of compost on the path or by the back door, just right for bumping into in the dark or falling over and causing injury.
- Don’t use ladders unless you know what you’re doing: Ladders are one of those tools we all think we should be able to use, but that should really come with a health warning! It’s always safest to have someone steadying a ladder while you climb up, and you need to make sure your angles are right against the house, and that the feet are firmly placed so the ladder doesn’t slip.
- Keep some grit or salt handy for icy weather: Ice and snow are weather conditions we’re all used to around here, but it’s still worth saying that having some salt to treat your paths with on an icy day is far better than risking walking across an ice rink to get to your car.
As well as these practical pieces of advice for everyday situations, you should also look at any special requirements you might need for your home, such as a ramp for wheelchairs, low level thresholds, lowered door handles, or outside railings. Ramps are an economical way of solving the problem of steps up to your front door if you or a family member has mobility problems, but a safer and more user friendly option is the step lift, which can be fitted over existing flights of steps by specialist companies like Terry Lifts.
Now the outside of the house is safe, and you’ve reduced the risk of having an accident outside your home, you can retreat into the safety of the indoors knowing your garden and pathways are safe. Although, in terms of accidents, did you know even more take place inside the home than anywhere else? It could be that you’ve got a bit more work ahead of you!