Articles: Learn, Maintain & Repair

Avoid Home Improvement Injuries

Avoid home improvement injuries by following a few basic tips when repairing things around your home and keep yourself out of the emergency room.

The number of home improvers who enter the emergency room is growing, say medical officials. While home improvement is not necessarily dangerous work, a lot of home improvers are novices at what they do. That leads to a lot of accidents and injuries.

Many of those accidents and injuries, say officials, can be avoided with a little planning, a little caution and a few safeguards:

General Safety tips:

Many accidents occur because do-it-yourselfers become distracted. Don’t rush through a project, give yourself enough time for the job, and don’t start work when you’re tired.

Also, while having a beer may make a painting job more tolerable, avoid alcohol when conducting home improvement projects. Many household injuries are alcohol related.

While you may do your best to avoid injuries while doing work around the home, you need to make sure you have the right homeowner’s insurance and that you have health insurance to cover you for any event or injury you might suffer.

Protective Gear

Many home improvement mishaps occur because do-it-yourselfers refuse to wear protective gear. A typical injury involves people getting sawdust or other debris in their eyes.

Another common accident is people who step on nails.”

Both of those injuries can be easily avoided by wearing safety goggles and protective thick-soled shoes. Protective shoes should not only have thick soles but should protect the ankle as well to prevent twists. Also important are thick gloves with leather hand pieces for gripping. And don’t wear shirts with loose sleeves that can get caught in power tools.

Avoid Home Improvement injuries and wear a mask

Finally, when working with dust and debris, wear a respirator fitted with a vapor cartridge, and clothing that covers most of your body.

Avoid Home Improvement Injuries: Ladders, power tools and nails.

One of the biggest causes of injuries are ladders. By not using a ladder appropriately, people fall off them. To use a ladder safely, never stand on the top two rungs. Make sure stepladders are open fully and are on secure ground. Have someone hold the bottom of an extension ladder while you’re on it. Also, next overextend your reach on a ladder and never use a table or a chair as a substitute for a ladder.

Power tools are another common cause of injuries to do-it-yourselfers. The problem is that most do-it-yourselfers are inexperienced with power tools. Especially dangerous are nail guns and staple guns.

To avoid power tool accidents, use only equipment you’re familiar with. Or, use a hand tool, such as a handsaw, instead of a power saw. Lacerations are another typical injury faced by home improvers. Use clamps when possible so that your hand is not in contact with the object you’re cutting.

And use guides to help keep cuts straight. The seemingly-harmless screwdriver can also cause a severe injury. A screwdriver can slip while you’re holding the screw and you put a nasty gouge into your hand.

An extension cord is another cause of many home improvement mishaps. Always make sure to use a heavy-duty extension cord to power a power tool. If you’re working outside, make sure the cord is made for outdoor use. Always use a long-enough cord and never connect three or more cords together. Don’t use small indoor extension cords, which can overheat.

Avoid Home Improvement Injuries: electrical issues

To avoid electrical shocks, plug the cord into ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet, especially when working outside (see below). Also, be careful cords don’t get tangled, especially when working on ladders. In fact, a good remedy to that is a cordless tool.

Electrical Supplies

Power tools should always be plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet, usually found around kitchen and bathroom sinks.

GFCIs monitor the current traveling in the two electrical wires that power a tool or device. If the current becomes imbalanced, the GFCI shuts off the power in a fraction of a second, minimizing the chance of an electrical shock.

Final Tips and Suggestions

A few final tips: Always have a fire extinguisher on hand for home improvement projects. And never be a few feet away from a phone (for outside projects, take along a cordless phone).

Take caution with toxic and flammable products. Always work with plenty of ventilation and never work with a flammable product around an open flame. Even the pilot light on a water heater can ignite a blaze.

© by Jim Sulski