Maintaining a home
Hazards and risks in the home
9 November 2022
Home is where the heart is – and where everyday hazards and risks can be, too. Knowing where and what home hazards are is one of the best ways to avoid them. They can range from fire to falls, and can cause some real headaches – especially with young ones running around. One in thirteen children visit hospitals for injuries and emergencies each year, with many of those injuries happening in the home1.
With most at-home injuries being avoidable, it pays to be aware of what to look out for.
What hazards are around the home?
Using fire is a daily ritual for most of us which makes it an everyday risk in our homes, dangerous to both you and your property. To avoid being caught unprepared, ensure your smoke alarms are working and regularly tested, and have a clear fire plan ready to go.
When cooking, using the backburners may help in avoiding accidental burns when rushing to-and-fro in the kitchen.
There are a few other things you can do to reduce the risk of a home fire:
- Reduce the flammable clutter around your home.
- Never leave open flames, like candles or stovetops, unattended.
- Maintain chimneys and fireplaces with regular professional inspections and cleaning.
In 2019-2020, there were 407 hospitalisations from electrical hazards2. This was lower than normal, due to people being at home because of the pandemic, but still shows how dangerous electrical hazards can be!
Avoid overloading power outlets, which is commonly done by plugging power boards and adaptors into other power boards. This can increase the risk of a short and an electrical fire.
Keep an eye out for any frayed or damaged wiring, whether from an appliance or on the house itself. If you spot anything that’s a risk, get an electrician to look or replace the appliance if you’re able to.
Also, make sure your safety switch is working properly and is easy to access. You don’t want to be left fumbling with a latch if you need to quickly cut power!
From carpets to staircases to a particularly hard-and-sharp bench corner, these hazards can be broad. So, it’s impossible to list every hazard a house may have, but there are a few common ones.
Accidents can often happen due to low light and slippery floors, so be careful in areas where this can be an issue – especially if there’s clutter around! This can include places like stairways and bathrooms, where slipping and falling can cause some serious damage.
Also keep an eye out for other common risks, like:
- loose rugs and carpets
- general clutter and low furniture, and
- power cords and other ankle-high items, especially across walkways.
If someone is injured, dies, or has their property lost or damaged from an incident when at your home, you could be legally liable to pay compensation – but Suncorp Home Insurance can help. Our policies include legal liability cover for up to $20 million (including all associated legal costs). Read the PDS for details.
Create a home hazards safety checklist
Take stock of your home and its unique potential hazards. That way, you know what to maintain and what to look out for – especially if you have small children running about.
- Make sure any hazardous or poisonous chemicals, like cleaning solutions and medication, is safely stored away.
- Avoid storing heavy objects above chest-height without being properly secured. A fall from any higher can be deadly.
- Ensure bodies of water, like pools, spas, and dams, are properly enclosed with no alternative access to the main gates – like climbable trees and chairs.
- Keep bathroom doors shut when not in use so no curious kids can fill the tub unsupervised.
- Clearly indicate or dull any particularly sharp or pointy edges, like corners and door handles.
- Store hazardous tools, including kitchen knives and power tools, far out of reach of children.
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^We do not insure you for bushfire in the first 72 hours of your policy. Very limited exceptions apply. Refer to the PDS for more detail.
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Limits, conditions and exclusions apply. Read the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. The Target Market Determination is also available. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.
The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.