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You are responsible for your safety during leisure time

During working hours, your employer is responsible for safety and providing the appropriate equipment, but at home and during your leisure time, your safety is your responsibility. Stay out of trouble by thinking ahead and planning.

Most accidents happen during leisure time, most commonly when moving from one place to another. The majority of such accidents involve stumbling or falling.

Trips and slips also cause cuts and bruises. Sprains and more serious injuries can hospitalise people.

“People put themselves in danger at home by climbing onto surfaces like chairs or up ladders. It is important to think about the stability of the surface and the footwear. For example, it is a bad idea to climb to a height while wearing woolly socks or crocs,” says Mika Liuhamo, Product Manager at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

Take a moment to think things through – at home as well as at work

From time to time, it is a good idea to stop and consider the kinds of hazards that can arise in leisure time.

When facing a new task at work, we take a moment to think it through. At home, we often approach things headlong without any preparation, even if it is something we do not routinely do.

“It would be wise to take a moment of reflection at home as well. Spend a couple of minutes planning – think about the best way of doing things and which tools you will need,” Liuhamo says.

When accidents happen at home or during leisure time, it is often because of being tired, careless or rushed.

Liuhamo says that being in a hurry may not be the real reason. However, it may be the go-to explanation if a person does not have the energy or inclination to take care of safety.

Think ahead and take action

The first step in preventing accidents is to identify hazards. The better we can identify different hazards, the more effectively we can affect and reduce the number of accidents.

However, as Liuhamo points out, being aware of hazards is not enough – we also need to react to shortcomings and take action.

If a stool looks a little flimsy, use a safer one instead. If there is slippery ground on the way to the letterbox, grit the route. Wear suitable shoes when you go to pick up your post.

“A little effort and a few changes could prevent many accidents.”

Patience and planning ensure safe leisure time

You can ensure safety in the home by planning your jobs as thoroughly as you do at work and using protective equipment, says Jani Rintala, Project Manager at Caverion Industria Oy.
  1. What is the most important step in ensuring safety during leisure time?
    You should plan the jobs you do in your leisure time in advance, just as you would at work. Give yourself plenty of time – don’t rush.

    If you are unsure whether you have the skills to do something, it is a good idea to contact a professional instead.

  2. When should protective equipment be used for jobs in leisure time? 
    I wouldn’t do forestry work without protective equipment. There are many different risks involved, so appropriate protective equipment is essential.

    If you have a loud lawnmower, use hearing protectors. As the autumn evenings grow darker, remember to use reflectors or reflective harnesses. Before you tip snow off your roof, make sure nobody is under the eaves. If you need to go onto the roof, use a safety harness. When chopping firewood, forester’s boots improve safety, but I recommend using safety shoes at least.

  3. What are the important things to bear in mind when emptying roof gutters or climbing ladders? 
    If you have the right tools for cleaning the gutters from ground level, you should definitely use them. You can avoid the risks of working at height. If you need to go up to the roof, use fall protection and safety equipment.

    Working on ladders is usually prohibited on worksites, so why would you do it in your leisure time? You should always be very careful with ladders and, if you must work on them, make sure they are prevented from falling.


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