Accidents due to home improvement projects send thousands of people to emergency rooms every year. As more and more Americans get interested in tackling do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement work to save money and pass the time, it’s good to be on the safe side by taking necessary precautions. Whether you’re a professional or newbie DIY-er, following strict safety protocol is a must.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
Proper lighting is a necessity in any workplace. A well-lit workspace will help you prevent eye strain, which can leave you feeling drowsy or quickly tired. Poor lighting can also lead to mistakes and accidents.
A CLEAN WORKSPACE IS A SAFE WORKSPACE
Do not leave tools and building materials lying around on the floor or elevated structures such as ladders as they can become a tripping or falling hazard. Say, you’re working on dry-lining your wall, and it will take a few days to complete the job, make sure to keep all your hand tools, power tools, plasterboarding tools, and other sharp and dangerous tools and equipment in just one secure area when they are not in use. If possible, consider placing them in a locked storage cabinet or workshop room to keep them out of anyone’s reach, especially small children. Tidy up your workspace after a day’s work and use a checklist to make sure that you are not missing anything after cleaning up.
ALWAYS WEAR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
Construction work involves a lot of hazards, even simple DIY ones. Many minor to significant accidents result from the lack of protective clothing, so it is crucial to consider the type of clothes that you are going to wear when doing any work. Employing both safety and practicality will allow you to move freely without hurting yourself in any way.
Slip into some practical clothes but avoid loose clothing that may cause you to trip or fall. Consider wearing footwear with a good grip, too, to protect you from slipping.
Loose clothing and jewelry such as watches, bracelets, and necklaces might also get caught in rotating or moving parts of tools and other equipment, so avoid these at all costs. Long hair should be tied back as well.
Always wear safety goggles and a dust mask, especially when working on projects that will involve dust and debris like cutting or sawing wood and metal. Wearing a mask is also highly encouraged when painting or using any toxic material. When operating a loud, powerful tool, always wear earplugs or earmuffs to protect your hearing.
Gloves are also a must when handling materials. Hand injuries are common in any construction work, so find high-grip gloves that are durable and resistant to heat, cuts, punctures, abrasions, and tears.
If there is any danger from falling objects or bumping your head, consider wearing a hard hat.
USE LADDERS SAFELY
Falls from incorrect ladder use is one of the leading causes of injuries and deaths in construction work. Remember to read and follow all manufacturer labels and markings on the ladder. This will help you determine if the ladder’s size, height, and style are appropriate for the job. Do not use ladders and ladder accessories other than for their designed purpose.
Before using a ladder, always inspect if it is in good condition. Otherwise, it must be repaired first or replaced with a new one. Ensure that it is free of any slippery material. Then, inspect the location where the ladder is being used. Ladders should be placed only on a stable, level surface away from electrical hazards and other activities or traffic than can cause displacement. Make adjustments when necessary or ask someone to hold the sides of the ladder when you climb.
Remember the three-point rule to avoid losing your balance. The three-point contact requires three to four points of contact on the ladder at all times—two hands and a foot or both feet and a hand. While climbing, always face the ladder and keep your body near the middle of the step. This technique allows stability and support, reducing the risk of slipping and falling.
KEEP A FIRST AID KIT CLOSE BY
Keep a first aid kit stocked and within reach in case of emergencies. Home first-aid kits are useful in dealing with minor injuries and accidents, including burns, cuts, scrapes, stings, splinters, sprains, and strains.
It’s always practical to err on the side of caution. Keeping your workspace tidy, wearing safety gear, and using tools and equipment correctly according to manufacturers’ guidelines are simple ways to protect yourself and your family from accidents while working on your home improvement projects.