If statistics from Rospa are to be believed, no fewer than 220,000 DIY enthusiasts appeared at a hospital last year because of an injury caused by a home improvement incident. Such figures probably won’t surprise a lot of people, with many homeowners turning towards the DIY approach in a bid to save money – which more often than not involves cutting corners.
The authorities are hopeful that various safety requirements, such as the ones that now place particular emphasis on qualified electricians carrying out electrical work, will help bring these figures down. Unfortunately, you get the sense that this is a field which is always going to be accident-prone, even if there are countless resources out there to guard against such incidents.
The purpose of this blog post is to become one of these resources. We’ve picked three of the most common safety issues that DIY enthusiasts run into and by following our guidance, you’ll hopefully reduce the risk of becoming one of the 220,000 unlucky casualties.
Ladders have for a long time been one of the most dangerous areas for the average contractor, with tens of thousands of people being sent to A&E every year because of such falls. The nature of work that involves the ladder means that the injuries aren’t just minor cuts and bruises either, with some much more severe and potentially fatal.
There are countless precautions to take in relation to ladder work and it all starts with selecting the appropriate piece of apparatus from the beginning. Anyone who has wandered around a DIY store will have noted all of the different types of the ladder and the most obvious advice is to not use one that is too short for the level you will be working at. Another tip is in relation to the material and if you are working with electrics, make sure the ladder is constructed out of wood.
Whilst using the ladder, you should ensure that both of your feet remain on it throughout the entire process. If you can’t reach a certain area, it’s clear that the equipment is not suitable and you should retreat until you have something better available. Also make sure that all of the joints are in good working order while keeping the ladder fixed on a flat service – preferably with someone keeping it steady at the bottom.
Perhaps a surprising addition to this list will focus around paints. There’s a reason why decorators regularly wear a facial mask – with this crucial to prevent any toxic fumes from being breathed into the lungs. Admittedly, this will only be the case with several types of paints such as ones that provide a gloss finish. However, misuse of them can promote breathing problems and if you have been inhaling them for some time, it’s not been unheard of to feel dizzy and potentially faint.
Fortunately, it’s very simple to guard against these issues. Take a trip to your local DIY store to find protective equipment and there are workwear polo shirts available too that will keep the paint from coming into contact with your body and potentially causing a reaction.
A slightly more obvious danger is power tools. Whether you are armed with the latest drill or looking to simply cut the grass with a lawnmower, power tool misuse can also result in fatal consequences.
Most people are under the impression that the electrical knowledge they were given as children is all that is required to run such equipment and to an extent, this is correct. Keeping wires away from water, making sure the device is turned off before fitting new parts and other simple tips have all been taught from a young age and should be followed no matter what.
However, don’t forget other issues, with many contractors finding themselves at the wrong end of a device when they have carelessly overloaded the socket. Accidentally cutting cables is another common, but the dangerous incident, while if we move away from the electrical point of view you should again make sure that your body is protected from one of the other umpteen accidents that a power tool can cause. Goggles, gloves and even hard hats are all usually recommended and can again minimize the risk of you being included in the 220,000 that we have kept talking about through this article.