Thousands of people try their hands at do-it-yourself home improvement projects every year. Whether working indoors or outdoors, wearing safety gear and exercising caution is a necessity when undertaking any home remodeling project.
According to the Home Safety Council, one in five consumers will need medical attention this year as a result of home improvement projects. A 2013 survey by 3M TEKK Protection and the National Safety Council found that more than one-quarter of DIY home improvement projects ended with injuries to homeowners or someone else in the household. Falls from ladders, cuts from power tools and injuries from thrown debris account for many emergency room visits. Accidents involving chemicals and cleaning agents also can occur. Safety should be the utmost priority when renovating, and that means utilizing appropriate safety equipment.
Wear solid shoes that provide considerable traction during home improvements. A firm, reinforced toe is helpful as well. Should any items fall, they’ll be less likely to cause injury if your foot is encased in a protective boot or sturdy shoe. Soles that grip surfaces will help safeguard against slips and falls.
Safety goggles and glasses are a must-have for any do-it-yourselfer. They will provide a barrier between the eye and flying debris. According to VisionWeb, an eye education resource, most of the 110,000 eye injuries that occur each year in homes within the United States result from splashes with household cleaners, flying debris such as wood chips, or getting hit by branches. Many of these injuries can be prevented by wearing eye protection.
Power tools can be quite loud. When operating loud, powered machinery, use earplugs or safety earmuffs to reduce the risk of damage to hearing and potential hearing loss.
Ventilation and respiratory protection
When working with chemicals and other products that have strong odors and/or emit particulates into the air, make sure you do so in well-ventilated areas. This will help dissipate the smell and prevent inhalation of concentrated chemical substances. Masks guard against dust, pollen and some other microscopic particles and may not provide enough protection, depending on the job. The Home Depot suggests using particulate or filtration respirators when performing tasks, such as sanding, where you might be exposed to particles. Gas and vapor respirators offer protection against additional substances.
Create a safe environment
When working at home, make sure to use tools in the manner in which they were designed. Keep power cords tidy so they do not pose a tripping hazard. Falls from ladders often occur when climbing above the recommended rung or engaging in risky behavior while on the ladder, such as reaching or hanging over too far.
When outdoors, exercise caution in inclement weather, which can make it harder to work safely. Be sure there are no bystanders too close when using power tools or tools that can kick up debris.
The right safety gear and some smart do-it-yourself techniques can help DIYers avoid injury.