Fall prevention has been identified as the number one priority by health and safety charity the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). The charity is reaching out to businesses, business leaders and the wider health and safety community to use the skills they have developed in fall prevention in workplaces, to educate their employees to help prevent falls in the home.
According to RoSPA, annual deaths due to falls, including falls on stairs, have nearly doubled in England from 3,667 deaths in 1990 to 7,274 in 2019. Falls cause “untold misery and pain” to thousands of people every year, from physical injuries and death, long-term health effects and disabilities, social isolation and loss of independence. The impact of this is said to cost the NHS and wider healthcare systems over £4billion every year. But RoSPA believes businesses and organisations can mobilise their people to help drive these numbers down.
The Falls Charity Appeal by RoSPA is urging organisations to deliver the charity’s free, twenty-minute Fall Fighter awareness sessions to their staff. These online sessions have been designed to equip people with the knowledge and skills to recognise the potential risks and how to stop falls from happening. Additionally, the sessions intend to provide people with a better understanding of how to help limit the harm from a fall.
The charity also asks for donations to be made to its appeal, which will fund the delivery of strength and balance programmes for people in later life, to enable them, RoSPA believes, to lead active, independent lives for longer. According to the charity, falls are the largest cause of accidental death among over-65s in the UK and these programmes have been shown to reduce the rate of falls by up to 30%.
Errol Taylor, RoSPA’s Chief Executive, said: “At RoSPA we know that businesses are experts in preventing falls in workplaces, but we want to translate these skills to tackle falls that are happening in homes, which are a forgotten killer.
“We believe that if every employee was made aware how falls can be prevented we could, together, achieve a huge reduction in the numbers of those killed and injured. This is why we have developed our innovative free Fall Fighter resource. By rolling-out our online sessions, businesses will be taking a leading role in addressing one of the biggest health and safety issues we face. There is so much that we can all do to stop falls from happening. A free Fall Fighter awareness session takes just twenty minutes to complete but could change the lives of loved ones forever.
“But we’re not stopping there, we want to deliver a programme of strength and balance programmes that will mean more people in later life can lead active, independent lives for longer. These programmes have been shown to reduce the rate of falls by a massive 30%. And by making a donation we can start this incredibly important work.
“By joining together, we can be a powerful and positive force for good. I therefore encourage all businesses and organisations, no matter their size, to adopt and roll-out our Fall Fighter training and donate to our appeal – together we have the potential to save lives.”
In support of the Fall Fighter scheme, early adopter Sarah Riesner, Business Lead – Strategy, Risk & Governance, Severn Trent, said: “We’re proud to adopt this free scheme, and encourage our 7,500 employees to become RoSPA Fall Fighters.”
And Barry Oliver, Group Executive for Health & Safety, from national house builder Berkeley Group, added: “The Fall Fighter scheme fits well with our strategic focus. Adding it to our own Learning Management System makes the roll-out simple.”
Chris Bond, Head of The Berkeley Academy, and Sarah Bradbury, Business Lead – Strategy, Risk & Governance at Severn Trent, joined Rebecca Hickman, Relationships Director at RoSPA, at the recent Safety & Health Expo in London, to discuss the campaign.
Read: RoSPA’s Safer Stairs campaign achieves major breakthrough.
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In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, we hear from Matt Birtles, Principal Ergonomics Consultant at HSE’s Science and Research Centre, about the different approaches to managing the risks associated with Musculoskeletal disorders.
Matt, an ergonomics and human factors expert, shares his thoughts on why MSDs are important, the various prevalent rates across the UK, what you can do within your own organisation and the Risk Management process surrounding MSD’s.