Whether intended or accidental, the majority of injuries can be prevented by either identifying their causes and removing these, or where this is not possible, reducing people’s exposure to them.1
The environments in which people live play a significant role in determining injury risks and the opportunities for injury prevention. The physical environment includes things such as roads, vehicles, buildings and the settings in which we live, work and play. Factors such as education, income and employment status comprise a socio-economic environment which shapes opportunities for, and knowledge about, safety. In addition, socio-cultural environments, which vary with gender, age and cultural background, influence choices that affect safety. Lifestyles and behaviours also influence safety. They are shaped by attitudes and knowledge, and constrained by environmental factors.1
Prevention of events likely to result in injury is usually the best approach. For example, the risk of a motor vehicle crashing is reduced by good road design and traffic control, by designing vehicles that are easy to control, and by ensuring that drivers are well-trained and not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Barriers can reduce injury risk by keeping people away from hazards. For example, suitable pool fences and child-resistant closures on containers for poisons contribute to child safety.1
Injury prevention in NSW
- Falls prevention in the elderly (see NSW Health Policy Directive - Prevention of Falls and Harm from Falls among Older People: 2011–2015)
- bStreetSmart road safety forum, an initiative of the Westmead Hopsital Trauma Service
- Falls from windows (see campaign from The Children's Hospital at Westmead)
- National Public Health Partnership (2004). The National Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Plan: 2004 - 2014. Canberra: NPHP. pp. 2.