Thank you to the American Occupational Therapy Association for this video on simple strategies for preventing falls around the home. Falls are not a part of normal aging nor dealing with chronic illness. Many simple strategies can help to prevent falls when they are caused by hazards in the living environment.
March is National Ladder Safety month and quite timely given the little case study in my recent post (https://twostepsolutions.com/2017/02/21/user-safety/). So let’s chat about the type of ladder most likely to be found in homes and apartments everywhere: step ladders.
Since the experts at the American Ladder Institute have all the data, I have included a link to their website below for your reference. Here are some of their top tips that stood out to me from my experience performing home safety assessments for persons of all ages as an occupational therapist:
- Inspect the device before each use: Is it clean? Do all parts work properly?
- Use the step ladder fully open and locked on a clean, smooth, hard surface.
- Place the stool in front of you and never overreach beyond the stool when in use.
- To protect children, do not leave a step stool set up and unattended.
- Do not store other materials on the step stool while it is in storage. Fold it up and put it away.
Further, the person using the step latter must have intact balance, leg strength, climbing, vision, and judgment skills to use this piece of equipment safely. If any of these requirements cannot be met then consider advising removal of the step ladder from the home. Falls on stairways and ladders can be the most hazardous places inside or outside a dwelling, even deadly, as compared to any other place in the home. Preventing injury here is generally non-negotiable when caring for loved ones or even in public places (such as with co-workers!).
If items inside the home can only be accessed with a ladder then offer to help the person living there place personal items within reach. Look around to see if there are things needing repair and assist in addressing them. While there could be dozens of reasons why a person would engage in risky behavior involving a step ladder, attempt to problem-solve alternatives that you and your loved one can agree upon together.
Take care and happy National Ladder Safety Month!
From: Ladders 101: Choosing the Right Ladder at: http://www.americanladderinstitute.org/?page=Ladders101
Care of Step Stools can be found in the following standards:
- ANSI A14.1 (Portable Wood Ladders)
- ANSI A14.2 (Portable Metal Ladders)
- ANSI A14.5 (Portable Reinforced Plastic Ladders)