At some time or another, almost all DIY enthusiasts consider doing their own home repairs. Not only can doing your own home repairs be very satisfying, but it can save a lot of money too. If this is your first time undertaking any DIY at home, it’s important to take time to understand the potential dangers of DIY and what you can do to minimise the risks.
From protecting yourself from power tools to using the right equipment and tools, the following tips could help keep you and your family safe from harm.
Do Your Homework
Home repair work is almost never a stand-alone project. This is because typically, one thing is dependent on another. For example, if you’re repairing your basement, you’ll have to make sure you’re not doing anything to encourage mould formation. The same if you’re considering changing the wallpaper in a bedroom. You’ll have to repair any loose plaster that may come away when stripping off the old wallpaper.
So, before you start doing any repair work, research your specific project thoroughly. Understand the dos and don’ts and make sure to adhere to them as much as possible. Do some research on the best tools to use for the DIY project. There’s plenty of information freely available on the internet so you might as well take advantage of it.
Wear The Right Clothing
What you wear matters while undertaking any DIY project. The right clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE) can do a lot to prevent potential accidents and minimise the risk of serious injuries.
As a rule, when doing any DIY work at home, avoid wearing long sleeves, loose clothing, watches, or bracelets. These can get caught in moving parts of any power tools you’re using such as angle grinders and electric drills, causing all sorts of injuries.
Depending on the type of home repairs you’re carrying out, it’s also advisable to invest in some basic personal protective equipment such as a pair of tight-fitting safety goggles, heavy-duty gloves, a dust mask or respirator, and steel-capped boots. You may also need a pair of earplugs if you’re using heavy-duty noisy equipment.
Don’t Overlook Ladder Safety
Ladders may seem like the most innocuous of all the equipment you’ll need for DIY repairs at home but if you were to fall off a ladder it could cause serious injuries or even be fatal. Every little thing matters when you’re using a ladder or stepladder, so here are a few tips to using a ladder safely:
- Choose the right type of ladder for the repairs you’re doing.
- Make sure the ladder is sturdy and doesn’t have any weak spots.
- Position your ladder properly on a firm, level, non-slippery surface so that it stays secure and in place while you’re on it.
- If you must place the ladder near a door that swings outward, make sure the door is locked.
Last but not least, never work alone when using a ladder. The ladder may slide or shake causing you to lose your footing and fall from a height so it’s best to have someone with you in case of an accident. Just having them hold or foot the ladder steady can minimise the risks considerably.
Know Your Tools And Use Them Correctly
Power tools can simplify many home repair jobs but only if used correctly. Do not underestimate the damage these tools can do if used incorrectly. Therefore:
- Always use the correct power tool for each job. Never improvise and use a tool for a job that it’s not designed to do.
- Read the instruction manual carefully, paying special attention to the safety precautions.
- Make sure the tool is in good condition and working properly before using it.
- Never use a power tool if the electric cable is in poor condition or damaged or its safety guards are broken or disabled.
- Never leave power tools unattended or plugged in and store them out of reach of children. A lot can happen in a minute.
- Unplug power equipment if you need to change any accessories such as a drill piece on a power drill.
Be Extremely Careful Around Electricity
We use electrical gadgets throughout the day so it’s easy to become careless around electricity. However, performing electrical work is nothing like operating simple household gadgets and equipment. Performing electrical work should be carried out by an experienced electrician where possible as it requires the highest level of precision, skill, and care. That said, if you are intending on working with electricity in your home, you cannot afford to be careless. The smallest mistake can literally be fatal.
These are just the basic precautions to keep in mind when working with electricity:
- Turn off the power before working on or repairing anything electrical.
- Always assume that a wire is live until you have verified otherwise with a voltage meter.
- Water is a good conductor of electricity so avoid it altogether and also make sure your hands and the tools you’re using are absolutely dry.
- Wear rubber-soled shoes or stand on a rubber mat to help reduce the risk of an electric shock.
- Use the proper tools for the job. For example, use insulated pliers when working with electrical wiring.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for any electrical equipment you are using.
- Never use metal ladders when performing electrical work.
- Keep children away from electrical equipment and wiring to avoid accidents.
If you are not comfortable or qualified to do a certain job, it’s best to find a professional electrician that can do it for you. Your life is more important than money.
Keep Your Work Area Clean And Tidy
A messy work area is a recipe for disaster. Slips, trips and falls are particularly common accidents caused by simple untidiness. Not only can an untidy working area be a hazard to humans but pets as well. They could walk in and hurt themselves or ingest some hazardous chemical. A lot can go wrong when things are left strewn around haphazardly.
Taking time to organise your tools and equipment and your workspace will save you time and also reduce the risk of injuries to anybody who enters the area.
Call A Professional
Some home repair jobs are best left to professionals. No matter how experienced you are at doing repairs around the home, there are some things that you should not attempt.
Tasks, such as septic tank cleaning, changing electrical wiring, and major roof repairs, require specialised skills and specialised equipment too. When performing these jobs, a small mistake can have serious consequences. Not only does it increase the risk of serious injuries but it will end up costing you, even more, to get any mistakes fixed.
Disclaimer: This should not be considered professional advice. Therefore, the most important safety tip is to know your limits and refrain from undertaking any complex DIY home repairs that are beyond your skill level.