North is NZ's falls capital

By APN, Mike Barrington

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The number of Northlanders falling over and injuring themselves in their homes is higher here than in any other region, according to new figures released by ACC.

Of the 61,698 new claims from Northland between July 2011 and June, 25,149 were injuries from falls and 14,258 in homes. Of these, 5808 were claims made by people aged between 25 and 64 years.

According to ACC, 3138 people in Whangarei in that age bracket made a claim to ACC, following a fall in or around the home.

In the Far North the figure was 1976, with 694 in the Kaipara District.

The figures this week also show a drop in shooting injuries from last year, from 15 claims to 11. Driving-related claims cost $12 million and straining injuries cost more than $9 million.

The ACC bill for dealing with injured Northlanders this year stands at $92 million.

The number of all new claims for men was 34,029 in the year, bringing the total of active claims to 42,932, costing $63.6 million.

There were fewer new claims for women, at 22,669, bringing the total of active claims to 33,880 and costing $28.8 million during the year.

St John's Northern acting district operating manager Wally Mitchell said many fall-related injuries could be prevented.

"We see a lot of DIYers with ... ladder falls," he said.

"They'll fall out of the tree when trying to cut a limb off or the ladder slipping and falling. It is just about always avoidable."

Nationally, injuries cost New Zealanders about $10.4billion each year.

"This includes the social and economic cost," ACC general manager, insurance and prevention services, John Beaglehole said.

"It's easy to lose sight of the fact that if someone is seriously injured, that's a massive impact, not only on them but also on their family."

About 1.5 million new injury claims were lodged with ACC annually, Mr Beaglehole said.

"We think about 1800 people die from injuries every year and about 8500 people are seriously injured."

He warned that Kiwis needed a more serious approach to safe-proofing their homes and workplaces.

"New Zealanders have a tendency of 'she'll be right, we'll do it this way'," he said.

The figures this week also recorded claims for injuries caused by being struck by a person or animal, which were also prevalent in the North. There were more than 11,000 of these claims (5260 new) during the year costing $3.7 million.

The 198 claims relating to fatalities (50 new, 148 active) for men in Northland during the year also cost $3.7 million and the 47 claims (27 new, 20 active) for women relating to fatalities in the same period cost $395,079. No cost is given for three claims for fatal shootings in the region during the year.

The 29 claims for Northland shooting injuries during the year to June 30 cost $209,733. Six claims over injuries caused by eating fungi, possibly magic mushrooms, have only a $1 cost listed for the year.

 

- Northern Advocate

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