Don’t hop around home safety this Easter

1 April  2021

The Easter long weekend is traditionally a time for Queenslanders to make the most of the last of the warm weather to get stuck into projects around the house, but there are potential hazards in DIY projects and precautions you need to take.

Many DIY projects involve the use of ladders and Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer says that whether it is a short or a tall ladder there is always the risk of falling and sustaining an injury if you don’t take the proper safety measures.

“You might find yourself up a ladder doing tasks such as painting, cleaning gutters, changing a light bulb or pruning trees,” Mr Bauer said.

“Ladder falls have caused serious life-changing injuries for too many Australians, so avoid using a ladder if you’re alone or if there is no way of getting help in the case of an accident.

“Research has shown that around 5,000 Australians are hospitalised each year for injuries resulting from falling off a ladder. While people often associate these injuries with workplace incidents this is not the case – 80 percent of these falls are the result of accidents at home.”

The Office of Fair Trading has a suite of videos outlining the terrible impacts ladder falls have had on the lives of three Australians.

In one, Mick, explains how it was a hot and humid day and he was trimming the hedges. The ladders were too far apart but he was tired, and he just wanted to finish the job. The ladders gave way and he fell, breaking four ribs, his neck at C6, and fracturing five vertebrae. Recovery was long and slow, and not only physical.

Although he is up and about now, he speaks about how he still struggles with certain situations like not being able to mow the grass, something he says is really hard for men like him who have done their own work all their lives.

“It’s so important that when we’re using a ladder we take a moment to check it’s safe,” Mr Bauer said.

“Before climbing a ladder make sure it is the right height for the job, stable, that you don’t climb higher than second step from the top, that you have someone to hold it for increased stability, and that you always work within an easy arm’s reach.

“Always read the ladder’s safety warning, if it is old, check for rust and corrosion, and make sure all the parts are still intact and lock securely into place.

“If you are purchasing a new ladder, buy one that meets the voluntary Australian Standard - it will be clearly labelled if it meets the standard.”

Visit the ladder safety page on the Office of Fair Trading website for more information and to watch the videos about the safe use of ladders. You can also order a free hardcopy ladder safety brochure which includes a safety sticker reminder for you to attach to your ladder at home