DIY home improvement projects are gaining in popularity, and not just because doing something yourself is often cheaper than hiring an entire team to make a minor renovation. For many people, creating furniture or updating the looks of your house with your own hands is an incredibly rewarding experience in itself.
However, many beginners in this hobby are not aware of the risks involved. And the numbers speak for themselves. In the United States this year, there was an 11% increase in accidents that stemmed from DIY tasks–and these required medical attention.
So how can people start their home improvement project safely? Here are seven tips that they can follow:
1) Use the right tool for the job and make sure you know how to use them properly.
Ever heard of the saying “If all that you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail”? That saying does have some origin in reality–after all, have you tried using a hammer to get a screw in?
Understandably, buying different tools for your home improvement project can be expensive. But using tools in the way that they’re intended won’t just help prolong the lifespan of those tools. These can also help you prevent accidents, as around 8% of industrial accidents result from improper tool use.
2) Install or wear the right safety equipment for your project.
Spending money on safety equipment should be not viewed as an expense, but rather an investment. Especially since many DIY home improvements projects have resulted in injury. After all, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service reported that it spends around £222 million in hospital visits for DIY-related accidents every year.
So other than getting the right tool in your hands and knowing how to use them, you should pair them with the right safety equipment. For example, when operating a table saw, you’d want to have some safety glasses on. These will protect your eyes from splinters that may fly off while slicing wood.
Meanwhile, for large-scale renovations that require scaffolding, you may want to replace rickety scaffolding ladders with Catwalk Scaffold Stairs. These stairs help prevent accidental falls or slips, which is one of the top causes of death or injury while at work.
3) Identify potential electrical hazards and know how to prevent them
Another top hazard whenever doing a home improvement project are electricals. And these start out innocently enough, such as trying to plug in too much equipment into one extension cord, overloading it and starting a fire.
Hence, before starting any work that involves electricals, make sure to minimize these hazards. If the cord of your power tool is damaged, don’t use it, as that’s a potential shock hazard. Make sure your work area and your hands are dry as well, since water conducts electricity; you wouldn’t want to get accidentally electrocuted while operating a tool.
And in the worst-case scenario that an electrical fire flares up, don’t douse the flames with water. Turn off the power from the main and put out the fire with a fire extinguisher instead.
4) Check the weather before starting any outdoor projects
This might sound like common sense at first, but with some people’s excitement over starting their outdoor home improvement project, they fail to check the weather before they begin.
So while they’re doing repairs on their roof or painting the walls, they end up getting caught in a sudden downpour. Not only will this ruin hours of work–that paint won’t dry with a torrent running down the wall–but you’ll have a greater chance of slipping off the roof while you try to get down.
That’s why you should do yourself a favor and check the day’s weather report before starting. It’s going to be better to postpone your DIY project, instead of getting interrupted by strong rains halfway through and getting injured because you’ve slipped.
5) Inspect your work area and tools before starting
Sure, everything in your work area was in tip-top shape yesterday. But before you start any work today, make sure to double-check if everything is in order–especially your tools. That way, you can spot any problems with your gear before you begin.
This step is especially important if you live with other people at home or share your work area with another person. After all, someone may have borrowed your tools without your permission and returned them in a haphazard manner or tampered with the safety settings. It’s better to be safe than sorry in this regard, even if you need to spend a little extra time to make sure everything is in order.
6) Know what to do in case of an emergency: learn first aid
It’s something that everyone should know as kids: knowing to call 911–or an equivalent emergency phone hotline–when an accident happens. But other than calling for the paramedics and waiting for help to arrive, it would be better if you have a basic knowledge of first aid.
This works two ways: either you won’t need to call the hotline just to deal with a minor injury, or in case of a worse accident, you can help minimize the damage before they arrive.
7) Make cleaning up at the end of every workday a habit
You might be tired from working on your project that you wouldn’t want to bother cleaning up at the end of the day. However, there are many reasons why you should store your tools and materials properly once you’re done.
For starters, you’d want to keep them all away from a child’s reach. That’s because you wouldn’t want a kid getting sick because they’ve decided to taste some paint, or a toddler getting injured from trying to use a real hammer. The same goes for pets as well–you wouldn’t want your pet cat playing the cables of your power tools. Other than ensuring that your tools are safe, you get to ensure that children and pets are safe, too.
As you can see, following these seven tips will help you finish your home improvement project safely. That’s especially if you want to pursue other DIY projects in the future.