The Shocking Ways Canadians Injure Themselves Over the Holidays and How to Prevent It
According to the recent studies, a staggering number of injuries happen over the holidays, and as every good Occupational Health and Safety coordinator knows, identifying hazards is the first step to solving them.
The increase in injuries seen over the holiday season ranges from minor cuts, scrapes, slips and falls to life-altering incidents.
One Alberta Emergency Department Doctor studied the trends he was seeing in his direct practise and found that from 2002 to 2012, that about 70% of the non-minor injuries involved neurological damage (from skull fractures to bleeding on the brain), 43% suffered spinal damage and roughly 66% sustained lung or chest trauma. 95% of the patients with these severe injuries were male, the average age of patients was 55 and the majority fell from a ladder directly as opposed to from the roof.
On top of hanging and removing decorations, Canadians also suffered injuries from slips, trips and falls, motor-vehicle crashes compounded by slippery roads and, to a lesser extent, cooking-related injuries. Year round, falls have overtaken motor-vehicle accidents as a more major cause of serious injuries - both on and off the jobsite.
It is important to remind employees to take the same precautions that would be expected of them in a work setting at home when taking on these holiday-related tasks. As flippant as most Canadians are about such holiday tasks, a lack of appropriate planning and safety precautions on the part of employees can cost their employers profoundly in the long run. With New Years parties around the corner, this remains a pressing health and safety concern worth discussion.
The Accident Claims Advice (Organization) (ACA), tallied data and found similar results. In their report, specific circumstances were highlighted which offers insight into the ways in which these incidents can be better prevented:
- 36-year-old male was putting up Christmas decorations, looked up, sneezed and swallowed a thumb tack.
- 44-year-old female was on a ladder taking down Christmas lights when she slipped and fell off her porch.
- 10-year-old male was riding a hoverboard he got as a Christmas present and fell off.
- 34-year-old female was drinking alcohol at a Christmas party and fell over, hitting her head on a table.
- 65-year-old female was carrying a Christmas tree down steps to basement at home and fell.
- 32-year-old male was dancing at a Christmas party when he twisted and sprained his left knee.
- 14-year-old male stapled his finger while using a staple gun to hang Christmas lights.
- 39-year-old male was hanging Christmas lights on an outdoor tree when he burned his wrist, causing him to startle and fall 16 feet from ladder.
Certainly, the prevalence and nature of the aforementioned incidents re-affirms that First Aid Kits are a crucially important part of every workplace and home environment.
Though we may hope to go long between uses that we nearly forget they're there, it's important to check the expiration date of your supplies, top up anything that has been used and ensure there's an adequate amount of supplies per kit depending on the number of people in your household/employees.
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