DIY at Home: Safety Smarts
Whether you're undergoing a huge renovation project or just hammering in a nail, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Here are some top tips from Meri-K Appy, president of the Home Safety Council, on how to make your next DIY project a safe and successful one.
- Make a plan. Mistakes often happen when DIYers are "not well prepared or not properly trained to use certain equipment," says Appy.
- Allow enough time to complete a job in case mistakes or setbacks occur. "People tend to cut corners in a hurry and this is when accidents happen," says Appy. "Don't rush through things."
- Be well rested and "know your limits," Appy says. Don't push yourself - take plenty of breaks and stop when you are tired.
- Keep a well-stocked first aid kit and a fire extinguisher in an accessible location while you're working.
- Post emergency numbers (PDF) by each phone...just in case.
- Falling and flying objects, especially when working in tight spaces, can pose a hazard to your head, face and eyes. Consider wearing hard hats,
safety vests, protective eye wear and ear plugs while working.
- If you allow someone to watch you work, make sure they wear protective gear too.
- Keep your work area clean and free from clutter.
- Read the safety and warning labels on tools and machinery. Those labels are there for a reason. Someone has experienced that injury or problem – learn from the example of others and wear appropriate safety gear and practice safety while using tools.
- Unplug the power cord before you do any trouble-shooting on a tool that is jammed or won't start, and never walk away from a plugged-in-power tool -- even for a few minutes.
- Stay grounded: Place the ladder on level ground and open it completely, making sure all locks are engaged.
- Practice the 4 to 1 rule: for each 4 feet of distance between the ground and the upper point of contact (such as the wall or roof), move the base of the ladder out 1 foot.
- Spot the safety step: Stand at or below the 4th highest rung on extension ladder, 2nd highest step on a step ladder
- Practice the 3 points of contact rule: keep 2 feet on the ladder at all times and hold on to a rung of the ladder with one hand. If your belly button passes above the ladder, you could be at risk for falling.