If you have home improvement projects that you just can’t wait to get your hands on, stop and take a moment to make sure you take personal safety precautions throughout each task. You don’t want your DIY project to end with a visit to your local emergency room.
Wear your safety glasses. How often do we think, “oh, this will be quick” or “there shouldn’t be anything flying at me” and then not bother to put on our safety glasses. Whether you’re using a weed whacker, sanding a table or stripping wallpaper with chemical solutions, you should get into the habit of wearing your safety glasses during most do-it-yourself home improvements. It’s worth spending a few extra dollars on a pair that fits well and follows that contours of your face.
Dress appropriately. Of course, we remember steel-toed shoes or boots, work gloves and earmuffs when they’re needed but have you also thought about removing jewelry, tying back long hair, not wearing dangling sleeves or really wide pants legs? In cases where equipment gets very hot or things can break, you may also want to avoid shorts and short-sleeved shirts.
Follow safe ladder techniques. When working from heights, be sure to keep your ladder on a firm, level surface, lock the ladder into the open position, never overstretch and stay away from electrical wires. (Click here to read our recent blog on ladder safety.)
Wear a dust mask or respirator. Always choose the right type of mask for the job you’re working on and if you can, work in a well-ventilated area. Different masks or respirators will filter out distinctive things: some are good for particulates while other filter harmful fumes and gasses. There is no single respirator for all jobs so be sure to choose the appropriate one for the task at hand.
Be cautious around electricity. Electricity can not only give you a jolt, it can kill you.
• Always check wires with a noncontact voltage tester before touching them.
• Never stand on an aluminum ladder when working with electricity.
• Wear rubber-soled shoes.
• When it comes to electrical projects, if you aren’t knowledgeable about the task at hand, leave it to the professionals.
Don’t attempt gas repairs or upgrades. If you think electricity is dangerous, gas can be even more volatile. Any repairs related to your gas source, pipes, etc., should be left up to the professionals. Also, if you have gas lines in your yard, be sure to contact your gas utility and have the lines marked out before you do any excavating or digging in your yard.
You aren’t alone, keep your family safe. Remember: if you need to wear a respirator to protect you from fumes or you require other safety equipment to complete a job, other people in your home might need them too or they may need to leave the premises while you work.
Planning ahead, researching your project, reading labels, taking precautions and working carefully will ensure that your DIY home remodeling goes smoothly and safely.