Unusual times can lead to an increase in accidents at home and during leisure time

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us are spending more time at home than usual, including during our leisure time. What’s more, we have had to reduce the amount of contact we have, particularly face-to-face, with our elderly friends and family. Now more than ever it is important to take care of each other and look after both our own safety and that of others. About 90% of fatal accidents and 80% of accidents that lead to injuries occur at home and during leisure time.

In these strange times resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is even more important to identify hazardous places, prevent accidents, and look after the safety of those around us. This week sees the 25th Accident Day campaign, with activities culminating on Friday 13 November.

“Many indicators suggest that Finland is a safer place than it used to be. Rates of deaths resulting from accidents at work and accidental deaths among children are at a record low. The number of deaths in traffic has fallen to a fifth of its 1970s level, but we are still lagging behind the positive development seen in many other countries, such as Norway,” explains Ministerial Advisor Pirjo Lillsunde from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Accidents cause a great deal of human suffering and place demands on financial resources, making them one of our largest national health problems.

“The number of deaths occurring as a result of accidents in the home and in leisure time has been falling continuously for 10 years, with the exception of the most recent years. Treatment of injuries and poisonings caused by accidents places a large demand on hospital resources every year, both in terms of specialist medical care and inpatient care at health centres,” states Lillsunde.

Finland has the third highest rate of accidental deaths in the EU. Accidental injury deaths are the fourth most leading cause of death in Finland and every year approximately 2,600 people die accidental deaths.

Accident Day will see the publication of the Safety at all ages – Target Programme for the Prevention of Home and Leisure Injuries 2021–2030 and the Costs InvolvedThe publication will be available from 13 November 2020 as an online publication in the Valto Institutional Repository of the Finnish Government. National objectives have been set for the programme, along with measures to reduce various types of accident, with the publication also featuring a section exploring the costs of accidents. The programme of objectives has taken into account the role of friends and family in promoting the safety of not only children and teenagers, but also the elderly.

A large proportion of accidents are avoidable

Prevention of accidents begins with the identification of potentially hazardous spots. The better different hazard factors are identified, the better they can be prepared for and the risk of accidents occurring reduced.

“These days, families are spending a lot of time at home. Drawing up a home safety checklist is a good idea, as it will help you go systematically through your home from one area to the next, room by room. Lists can help you take into account areas in the home where maintenance or adjustment measures could reduce the risk of accidents,” explains Planning Officer Saara Aakko from Finnish Red Cross.

You can find out more about accidents and how to prevent them (in Finnish): tapaturmapäivä.fi

Safety checklists: https://www.kotitapaturma.fi/tietotyyppi/ladattavat-materiaalit/

Further information about work to prevent accidents:

Ministerial Advisor Pirjo Lillsunde, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 (0)29 516 3177, pirjo.lillsunde(at)stm.fi

Planning Officer Saara Aakko, Finnish Red Cross, tel. +358 (0)40 806973, saara.aakko(at)punainenristi.fi

On Accident Day we encourage you to think about how you can reduce risks and prevent accidents at work, at home, and in traffic. The date varies every year, because Accident Days take place on every Friday the 13th.