Home Safety Checklist

About half of all falls occur in and around the home. You can reduce your chances of having a fall at home by making sure that you have followed some basic home safety guidelines.

This checklist will help you identify aspects of your home that might increase your risk of a fall. Walk around each room and check that there is nothing that might pose a risk. For small safety improvements, see if a family member, friend or local handyperson can help you fix the problem. A health professional can also arrange for an occupational therapist to perform a home safety assessment and arrange for installation of home modifications.

Entrance and hallway

  • Light switches easy to reach and near each doorway or hallway:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Consider installing sensor lights in passageways that turn on automatically
  • Doorbell easy to hear from other rooms:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Consider installing a wireless door chime with a portable receiver that you can take around the house with you or place where you hear it best
  • Rugs or mats with slip-resistant backing:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Remove all loose mats and rugs or ensure they are firmly secured and have slip resistant backing

Stairs and steps

  • Light switch at both the top and bottom of stairways:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Stairs may need extra lighting or a sensor light that turns on automatically
  • Stairs and steps well lit:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Stairs may need extra lighting or a sensor light that turns on automatically
  • Carpets or runners securely fixed:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Ensure carpet is firmly attached to every step or remove and replace with slip-resistant rubber treads
  • Sturdy handrail:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Make sure there are handrails on at least one side of all stairwells, handrails on both sides are preferable
  • Edges of steps clearly marked:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Makes sure that edges of steps are clearly marked with non-skid treads or paint
  • Non-skid treads or paint used on the edges of each step:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Makes sure that edges of steps are clearly marked with non-skid treads or paint

Kitchen

  • Regularly used items within easy reach without climbing or bending:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Arrange your kitchen so frequently used items are within easy reach, within chest and hip height. A Kitchen trolley allows you to transport items easily and safely
  • Good lighting over benchtops and other work areas:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Use energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs ( 15W is equivalent to 75W incandescent) to ensure adequate lighting over bench tops and other work areas
  • Good ventilation to reduce the risk of glasses fogging:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Range hoods vents and exhaust fans can be installed to provide better ventilation when cooking
  • Floor surfaces slip resistant:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Ensure floor services are of slip resistant material
  • Spills cleaned up straight away:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Clean up all spills as soon as they occur to ensure you do not slip
  • Sturdy low step stool with handrail if need to use higher shelves:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Use a broad sturdy and secure stepladder if you need to reach higher places

Lounge/Dining room

  • Good light (natural or artificial):
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Ensure you are able to open window coverings to allow in natural light during the day. Use energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs ( 15W is equivalent to 75W incandescent) to ensure adequate lighting at night
  • Carpets and mats lie flat without wrinkles, curled or frayed edges:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Remove loose rugs or apply slip resistant backing or secure by other means
  • Furniture arranged so that it is easy to walk around:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Arrange your furniture so it is easy to move around the room and remove any clutter on the floor
  • Cords and cables safely away from walkways:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Keep all electrical and telephone cords away from walkways
  • Lounge chair easy to get out of:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Higher chairs or chairs with solid armrests are easier to get in and out
  • Telephone within easy reach:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Cordless telephones allow you to keep your telephone handy

Bedroom

  • Bed easy to get in and out of:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Beds should be at a height that makes it easy to get in and out of and firm mattress will also help. Get out of bed slowly sit up first before you stand up
  • Bedside light easy to switch on when in bed:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Ensure that a light within easy reach of your bed. Consider a touch lamp or night light or have a torch
  • Telephone within easy reach when in bed:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Keep a telephone beside your bed, consider using a cordless telephone
  • Bedside table for drink, books, glasses:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Consider keeping your glasses and other items within easy reach on a bedside table
  • Bed coverings clear of the floor:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Ensure your bedspread is clear of the floor and not a trip hazard
  • Walking aid (if required) within easy reach of the bed:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Ensure your walking aid is handy in case you need to get up at night

Secure all loose electrical and phone cords in the bedroom

Bathroom and toilet

  • Slip-resistant mats on the floor:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Wet areas are more likely to be slippery, use a slip resistant mat in the shower recess and bath. Hose and dry the slip resistant mats regularly to reduce the build up of mould. Consider anti-slip flooring or paint
  • Shower easy to access without stepping over a raised edge or hob:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Grab rails are recommended to enable you to get in and out of the shower or bath, do not use the towel rail as this is not strong enough
  • Secure handrail in shower or on wall next to bath to avoid holding on to taps or towel rail to get out:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Occupational Therapists from your Aged Care Assessment team or local hospital can advise you on hand rails, modifications or other equipment for your bathroom. The Independent Living Centre of NSW provides free information and advice on equipment.
  • Soap and shampoo within easy reach without bending:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Have the soap holder or a shower caddy within easy reach
  • Towel rail within easy reach from bath or shower:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Ensure your towel is within easy reach before you enter the shower or bath
  • Handrail next to toilet:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Have a rail installed next to the toilet or use a toilet safety frame to aid in getting on and off the toilet
  • Good lighting where medicines kept:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Use energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (15W is equivalent to 75W incandescent) to ensure adequate lighting to enable you to clearly read the instructions on your medicines

Outside the home

  • Paths and entrances well lit at night:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Install a sensor light that turns on automatically as you approach
  • Paths in good repair:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Ensure paths are not uneven or broken and keep free of moss and leaves and take care when wet
  • Steps with a sturdy, easy-to-grip handrail:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Make sure there are handrails on at least one side of all steps and that these are maintained in good condition
  • Edges of steps clearly marked and with slip-resistant strip:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • To clearly see edges of steps paint with a contrasting colour or use non-skid treads
  • Stepladder short and sturdy with slip-resistant feet:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Many falls results from ladders engage a handyman or have someone assist you if possible when using a ladder, comply with all safety instructions
  • Clothes line easy to access and reach:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
  • Garden kept free of trip hazards, such as tools and hoses:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Store your garden tools safely and use a hose reel to store your garden hose
  • Garage / shed uncluttered and floors free of oil and grease:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Ensure tools are stored safely and that oil spills and grease on floors are cleaned up
  • Footpaths and public areas in good repair:
    • Yes
      • OK
    • No
      • Contact your local council to advise them of problem areas near your home such as uplifted paths, potholes and low tree branches


© NSW Health 2010, Staying Active and On Your Feet

Next Page: Fall Proof Yourself