New year, new home. That’s how many people feel – and for those who already own a property, that often means that DIY home improvement projects are on the cards for the next few months.
However, it’s almost a cliché that the first thing you should buy for your workshop or toolbox when starting out on the DIY route is a first-aid kit, because of the large numbers of home handymen that get injured and even hospitalised every year.
But rather than let that deter you completely, just be sure to start slow, with smaller and easier projects, until you become familiar with your equipment and build up your skills – and to follow the following expert suggestions for avoiding the most common DIY injuries:
- Always wear safety glasses or goggles, whether using power tools, stripping paint or just hammering in a nail.
- Protect your hearing. Use ear muffs or plugs when working with noisy tools or mowers.
- Wear a safety harness when working on a roof or tall ladder.
- Wear gloves and overalls to protect your skin when using pesticides or installing fiberglass insulation materials.
- Tie hair back and don’t wear loose sleeves or jewellery when using power tools.
- Ventilate your work area properly, especially when using a paint sprayer or chemicals like paint stripper and varnish.
- Keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of sand handy when working with any flammable substance.
- Don’t run an extension cord over an area you will repeatedly traverse during the project, because you increase the odds of tripping over it or making it fray and cause an electrical short.
- Clean up as you go, removing spent nails or screws, empty containers and bits of timber, tile or brick as you complete each section of a project.
- Wear a mask to prevent dust inhalation if you’re sawing or sanding, but use a proper respirator if you’re working with high-fume glues and varnishes.
And finally, you will save yourself and your family much trouble by just admitting that there are some projects – like electrical wiring and plumbing – that really must be done by a qualified specialist.