There is so much pride in being able to state one day that you have built this bar or patio in your home with your bare hands. Not only do DIY home improvements cost less money but you actually break a good sweat, while building them. Being a one-man construction firm does come with a downside and it has to do with safety. Since you’re working from the comfort of your own home, it is easy to forget that safety measures have to be aped as if you were on a commercial build. Wearing safety gloves, a helmet, and safety boots is not a fashion statement but rather a real need that has the potential to prevent injury and even save your life. The full list of the safety measures required is quite long, but here is a short list of the most important safety precautions to put into play during a home improvement project.
Power down with the power tools
One of the biggest sources of danger at any construction site are the power tools, like saws, cutters, and heavy-duty staplers. Even before you use them, you need to read the instruction manual carefully and check if they are in working order. One of the biggest issues is a twisted power cord that can produce a spark that has the potential to cause a house fire. When it comes to the blades, be sure to use the guards properly, take great care of where your leave power tools.
Other people, like your children, are probably going to have access to the construction site, so don’t just leave power tools lying on the floor. Finally, be alert when it comes to kickbacks. If the sawblade gets jammed in a piece of wood, for instance, don’t try to pull it back by force, but turn it off and then slowly dislodge it. “Easy does it” should be the leitmotif of DIY home improvements.
Come to work well rested
It might seem like an odd thing to point out, but coming to work well rested is essential if you want to stay safe during the home renovation. It’s a scientific fact that drowsiness and tiredness decreased your reaction time, so put the tools down if you are tired and not feeling up for work. If you are feeling sleepy, it is more likely that you’re going to rush with a certain procedure and therefore make a mistake and injure yourself. That is why staying focused is essential for the successful completion of the home improvement project.
Constantly clean the house
If you’re tearing down a wall or perhaps replacing floor tiles, there is bound to be a heap of debris that will initially end up inside the house. It might seem trivial and secondary but working next to this waste is actually quite dangerous as you can stumble on a plank, for instance, and fall down. That is why each demolishing procedure needs to be followed by clean-up. Most homeowners disregard this necessity because they are rushing to complete the project as soon as possible, but in the end, they just end up spending more time cleaning huge piles of debris.
Donning the protective gear
Again, working inside your own house makes you lenient because you believe nothing bad can happen and the environment you are drilling and demolishing is 100% safe. Why wear a helmet, boots or gloves, right? Wrong! Because you are the only worker on the construction site, you need to take extra care of your health by wearing as much protective gear as possible.
If you are repairing a leak in the roof above you, then put a helmet on to prevent heavy chinks of mortar striking you in the head. If you are sawing or welding, then protective goggles are a must, as well as a facemask. Getting down on your knees to take out the floorboards is less painful if you use kneepads. Tearing done a wall comes with the danger of heavy stones and bricks landing on your feet, so put on steel cap boots to protect your feet and legs. Finally, wear proper clothes while improving your house, as shorts and flip-flops are hardly considered protective clothing.
Working at height
Many homeowners feel bold enough to climb the room and replace the damaged shingles themselves. Although this is not recommendable, cleaning the gutter is something that you definitely can accomplish on your own. The biggest safety issue with any repair that involves working at height is using the ladder properly. Falling from a ladder is never benign, regardless of the height, as you can seriously injure yourself. It is therefore essential that you check that the ladder is placed on level ground and that it grips firmly on the surface. Furthermore, never lean too much because your center of mass will shift too far out causing the ladder to tip over. Any repositioning of the ladder must include coming down to earth and them manually placing the ladder in the desired position.
(No) playing with power
Different people have different skills and it is not impossible that you were a layman mechanic or electrician at some point in time. This means that you can have the basic skills to repair power outlets or appliances but you need to stick to all the safety regulations. For instance, when repairing the toaster, don’t open the casing past the “do not open” sign. When you are replacing a switch or a wall outlet, be sure to turn the power off before you bare the wires. You can use a circuit tester to inspect if the wires are live before you touch them. Be sure to use proper tools that have a rubber grip that will isolate your body from electricity conductors in case of unplanned occurrences. And yeah, don’t dabble with electricity during a major thunderstorm.
Hopefully, all the precautions listed here will help diminish the risk for potential disasters but you need to be ready for all scenarios. Before you start repairing and sprucing up your home, place a fire extinguisher nearby and make sure you have at least a provisional first aid kid somewhere in the house. We already mentioned how a single spark can set the structure on fire in minutes, so a fast response will prevent the fire from spreading. The same goes for work-related injuries since you are going to have to stop the bleeding before the ambulance arrives. If you’re lucky, the whole project will produce no more than a single bruise or a scratch that can be patched up with a simple adhesive bandage.
Fleeing the fumes
A typical home improvement involves applying a fresh layer of paint at the end. This is not problematic outside, but inside, the toxic fumes from the paint have nowhere to escape and you inhale them directly. Since cheaper paints are lead-based, this will lead to poisoning and you might faint. This is where the aforementioned facemask with an added respirator comes into play and it might save your life.
Finally, one of the biggest precautions that you must take turning any home improvement project is to stay clear of all hazards, like water and gas pipes. The latter are especially dangerous as they have the power to explode if ruptured. In general, if you need to bare any pipes, do so with extreme caution, as the last thing you need is to rupture the main gas line in your area. Couples with other safety measures, this alertness will help you stay safe when working on home improvements.