Belfast Telegraph

Accidents kill 500 people a year

Accidents kill around 500 people every year in Northern Ireland.

They vie with intentional self-harm as the leading cause of preventable early death for those aged under 60, research showed.

While the number of road fatalities has fallen over the last decade, deadly home and leisure mishaps have risen and are set to increase by a third over the next 15 years, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

Ita McErlean, the charity's home safety manager, said: "Each year far too many families in Northern Ireland are left enduring the heartache of losing a loved one in an accident."

Accidents account for almost a quarter of preventable years of life lost among those aged under 60 in Northern Ireland. The RoSPA said on average 500 people died every year, based on a four-year average to 2011.

According to the Public Health Agency (PHA) mishaps cost an estimated £4.3 billion every year, with home and leisure accidents accounting for £2.7 billion of the total.

Young children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable at home.

Errol Taylor, deputy chief executive of RoSPA, said: "Acting on accident prevention is both inexpensive and effective, not only in saving lives that would otherwise be lost prematurely - but in helping to relieve the huge pressure on the NHS, particularly on A&E departments."

Northern Ireland's Big Book of Accident Prevention was launched today at Stormont and sets out how investing in prevention can help save lives and lessen the burden on families.

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