Accomplishing a do-it-yourself home repair or renovation can elicit feelings of pride. DIY projects can be cost-effective and completed on homeowners' unique time schedules. Although people can do many repairs themselves, using the wrong tools or equipment, or having insufficient knowledge of the task at hand can increase the risk of injury.
The home security resource A Secure Life says that more than 18,000 Americans die every year from injuries that take place in the home. Unintentional injuries can be traced to many factors, but making repairs around the house can contribute to accident risk. Falls, electrical shocks, broken glass, carpentry tools, and carrying overly heavy loads repeatedly result in injury, says The Home Depot.
Recognizing these potential hazards and always employing safe tactics can help keep DIYers stay healthy.
- Ladder safety: A fall from even a few feet can cause severe injuries and even death. Ladders should always be put on a level, stable surface. Individuals should not climb higher than the second rung on a step ladder or the third rung on an extension ladder.
- Tools: Every tool has the potential to cause injury. This injury risk increases when tools are not used properly. Before a tool is used, it's important to read the instructions.
- Wear protective gloves: Gloves can help protect against burns, electrocution, slippery grip, and even deep cuts or finger amputation when using sharp tools. Gloves also are essential when handling broken glass.
- Power tools: Power tools have momentum and torque behind them to make fast work of various jobs. If using power tools, DIYers should ensure they are the right tools for the job, not something that is handy or a quick fix. Power tools should only be used if a person can devote attention to the task and stay focused. That means never consuming alcohol, drugs or medications that can impair function when using power tools.
- Working with electricity: An electric shock occurs when a person is exposed to a source of electricity and the charge runs through the body. It can cause burns, cardiac arrest, changes to heartbeat, and even neurological injuries, according to the Mayo Clinic. DIYers should take precautions anytime they are working with electricity, including turning off the supply of electricity to the outlet or fixture being worked on.
- Heavy loads: It is important to exercise caution when moving around heavy loads. A friend or family member can help with the transfer of building materials or to relocate furniture.
- Distractions: Avoiding distractions is essential when doing home renovations. Keep pets and children away from work areas to focus entirely on the job at hand.
Injuries can derail home renovation projects if safety measures are ignored.