Take these safety precautions before any DIY project

Take these safety precautions before any DIY project

Photo: Martina Pelicia (Shutterstock)

Doing your own home improvement and maintenance projects can be beneficial: In addition to saving money, there is a sense of accomplishment that comes with completing the task yourself. But accident rates for DIY enthusiasts may be higher than you think, so it’s important to practice some basic safety precautions when using power tools, ladders, and blades. It can be easy to forget to use your personal protective equipment when you’re in your garage, but avoiding serious injury can count on it, so here are some best practices when working on home projects.

stair safety

Ladder safety is at the top of the list to prevent injury. Falling down stairs can be painful at best and fatal at worst. Always make sure your ladder is the right size for the job you are doing. If you can’t reach to do work without standing on the top two steps, your ladder isn’t long enough. Additionally, using a ladder that is not fully open so that the spreader rails lock in place can cause the ladder to move while you are at it. Also, it is not recommended to use a ladder on uneven ground because the ladder can swing back and forth.

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Always keep three points of contact and try to keep your limbs and weight as close to the ladder frame as possible to avoid tipping accidents. If you are using an extension ladder, make sure that for every four feet you go up, the feet of the ladder are another foot from the wall. This will make sure that your ladder is at the proper angle to support your weight. Here are more tips on how to do that Make your ladder safer and easier to use.

eye protection

It should go without saying that wearing safety glasses while using power tools is recommended, but it can be easy to forget. Placing a pair in a prominent place near where you keep your power tools is a good way to remind yourself to put them down before operating tools that can send dust or particles into the air, and thus your eyes. Make sure your safety glasses have a stamp that says Z87 or Z87+. This designation means that the American National Standards Institute has designated your eye protection for use with tools. Using substandard eye protection can cause glasses to break or be ineffective in protecting your eyes.

gloves

If you are handling a material that has any sharp edges or debris from which screws or hardware may come out, you should always wear gloves. Metal cuts and punctures are notoriously difficult to clean, and in addition to being uncomfortable, they can also cause infection. Using durable leather or synthetic puncture-resistant gloves can save you a potential trip to the emergency room.

Electricity and safety of external facilities

If you are undertaking an outdoor project, always make sure to call 811 before doing any drilling to avoid accidental disruption of buried facilities or puncturing septic tanks or underground oil tanks. Also, be sure to stay completely away from power lines. Most overhead electric power lines require at least ten feet of clearance, but it’s always a good idea to stay clear of it afterward.

Suitable ventilation for dust and fumes

If you work indoors, be sure to stay on top of the vent and dust set. If you don’t have a good store, use a dust mask and be sure to clean up dust as you go. If you use chemicals for anything that produces fumes, you may want to do so outdoors, or ventilate your indoor space as much as possible. Ordinary dust masks don’t protect you from fumes, so don’t rely on a mask for this like spray paint or thinner.

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