Northlanders losing their balance around the home was the number one cause of thousands of lost days of productivity in the region in the past reported financial year.

More than 414,541 days of productivity were lost in Northland in 2012-13, according to the latest ACC injury comparison reports.

The reports provide communities across the country with a comprehensive picture of local injury rates and trends, and are designed to help prioritise and plan local injury prevention initiatives. The Northland ACC injury claim rate was slightly above the national average and had trended downwards over the past five years. The most common injuries in Northland occurred at home, and at more than $28 million, they were also the most expensive.

Loss of balance was the most common cause of accidents, while walking, running, sport, and recreation were the most common pre-accident activities.


ACC spokesman Glenn Donovan said about 700,000 injuries nationwide happened in the home each year, and of those about 290,000 resulted from falls.

"Falls don't just happen to very young and older people. Around 45 per cent of home falls happen to working-age people aged 20-64 years. We suspect that one of the reasons we're so prone to injuries, such as falls, in the home is because the home is where we naturally feel safe and secure, and we let down our guard a little," he said.

Falls in and around the home happened for a multitude of reasons including falls from ladders, slipping over on spills or water on bathroom and kitchen floors, tripping over electrical cords, slipping on loose rugs or mats, tripping over toys and clutter left in walkways, slips on mossy paths and decks, and tripping over in the dark. A fall at home could have a significant impact on a working person's productivity, Mr Donovan said.

About 10,000 people had to take more than a week off work each year because of a home fall, and about 2500 had to take more than three months off.

Nationwide, 8,963,941 days of productivity were lost because of injuries in the 2012-13 financial year.

ACC injury prevention general manager Megan McKenna said the injury comparison reports provided a snapshot of what was happening at a community level, and ACC hoped they would help inspire solutions that enhanced people's wellbeing.

"We also have community injury prevention consultants based all over New Zealand. Their job is to coordinate the delivery of our injury prevention initiatives to help address local issues and concerns."

ACC recently updated its approach to injury prevention, identifying seven priority areas which generally result in the highest rate, severity and costs of injuries.


The priority areas were falls, road injuries and workplace injuries among others.