With any do-it-yourself upgrades, safety should always be your top priority. According to the Home Safety Council, in a single year, over 330,000 people make trips to an emergency room due to injuries from do-it-yourself home improvement projects. The best way to ensure all home projects both big and small end well is to take a “safety first” mindset. That means taking into consideration all safety factors before beginning the job. Here are some safety practices and rules to stay safe this summer while you work hard on your home:
Keep a First Aid Kit handy
Anticipate those bumps, scrapes or something more serious with a basic first aid kit that is easy to carry and latches securely, but can be opened quickly when needed.
Be Aware of your Surroundings
If you’re working with someone else, make sure you know where they are at all times to prevent accidents or injuries. Be aware of who enters your work area and keep children and pets away from tools and projects.
Tackle Tasks You Feel Comfortable and Safe Handling
It’s often tempting to try to save money by doing everything yourself. Some home improvement projects need an expert touch – such as any project involving structural changes, roof repairs, plumbing, or electrical wiring. If you don’t know what you’re doing or are uncomfortable, you can cause serious damage, which can be even more costly to fix than your planned home renovation costs.
A Clean Workspace is a Safe Workspace
Keep a tidy work area to avoid creating your own hazards. Don’t allow power cords to tangle. Pick up and properly store power tools, sharp tools, or dangerous materials that might cause injury. Keep working area, stairs, passageways unobstructed and clear of debris.
Dress for Safety
In other words, don’t work in your flip-flops and shorts. Sturdy clothing, work boots, and gloves will protect you. If you have long hair, pull it back. And wear safety glasses whenever you use power tools, hammers, or other striking or cutting tools. If you’re going to be working beneath construction, get a hard hat.
Practice Ladder Safety
When using a ladder, position it on a flat, firm surface. As you climb or reach, keep your weight centered and always have at least three points of contact. Do not lean out to one side; keep your hips between the rails; never stand on the top two rungs. When using an extension ladder to reach the roof, extend at least two rungs above the eaves. This way, you can hold onto the ladder as you step onto the roof.
Take Your Time
Rushing can lead to accidents, injuries, and more often than not produces an inferior finished product.
Watch the Weather
Watch the weather. Being caught out in bad weather can increase the risk for accidents. Keeping a close eye on the weather can ensure a safe work environment. Weather.com is a great accurate resource, you can check weather by zip code and by hour!
Before You Dig
If your projects include digging, like building a deck or planting a tree, call the national underground utility locator at 8-1-1 before you begin. Never assume the location or depth of underground utility lines. This service is free, prevents the inconvenience of having utilities interrupted, and can help you avoid serious injury.