Data map indicating high falls by local government area.

Watch your step: Falls high in western Victoria

November 14, 2019 BY

New research has uncovered the areas of western Victoria most affected by injuries sustained through falling, with the Surf Coast topping the chart for falls during a sporting activity.

The Deakin University study – which was carried out by the institution’s Epicentre for Healthy Ageing – examined falls from both a low and high height in people over 40 by local government area.

Corangamite, Colac-Otway and Moyne demonstrated the lowest rate of falls from a low height, while falls from above 1m were most common in Corangamite.

Low falls mostly occurred in the home and during leisure activities, while falls recorded from a height mostly occurred during leisure activities, followed by work.

Lead researcher Dr Kara Holloway said falls could have serious health implications on a person’s quality of life and were likely to increase with Australia’s ageing population.

“This study specifically looked at over 40s because falls, both from a high and low height, are more problematic in older people and can result in serious injuries.

“This is because older people are less able to tolerate stressors and injury than younger people.

“We hope these data will help pinpoint what the best fall prevention strategies are in each part of western Victoria, so prevention measures can be tailored to those regions.”

Other results demonstrated that a higher proportion of women than men experienced a fall from a height during leisure time, while men were more likely to fall when undertaking work activities than women.

Dr Holloway said falls from a height could include falling from the roof of a building, a balcony, window, ladder, staircase or other high-level structure.

“These types of falls are associated with significant injury, as well as substantial healthcare costs.

“They are also the major cause of injury in work environments and 11 per cent of all work-related deaths in Australia are the result of a fall from height.”